“It’s not everyday that you come across a female singer who gets compared to Tom Waits. But with Askew, it makes sense. It’s not that Askew sounds like Waits, but it feels like he could have been her grandfather teaching her all his tricks with word play and diction. The art of telling a story.”
"I first heard Grace in her home town, Memphis, and it seemed to me she sang like she had the river in her soul, dark and deep and moving. A bit Tom Waits, a little Maria Muldaur, and maybe a bit of Bessie Smith. How can you not love her?"
“Grace Askew is that increasingly rare entity: the singer-songwriter who can actually sing, and sing really, really well. The Memphis native comes across a bit like a countrified Norah Jones, backed up by the beautifully languid instrumentation of her band, The Black Market Goods.”
“With a solid swampy feel Ms. Askew and the band paint pictures that are more complex than we first realize. Like a fine dinner offering from a top notch chef, we at first, take in the general appearance (sound wise) then as we begin to immerse ourselves in it we only then fully appreciate what is being presented to us.”
“I can only describe this about Grace's music: I wish I had a bottle of whiskey in one hand, a lit & smoking cigarette in the other, and a broken heart on the floor in front of me. She has that kind of voice. Her voice moves you, is haunting, and you feel the emotion of her voice and her lyrics. ”
“The band and the instrumentation gives the album huge strength and power, reminding me of a Lucinda Williams album such as Essence in the comfort, ease, and familiarity among the artists; a solidarity that one can hear. I am a huge fan of Williams and Lynne, southerners embracing a southern sound and genre, and I get the impression from listening to the album, that this style of music is much more organic for Askew, less of a stretch than her previous Tom Waits inspired projects. Like garlic cloves, I can only tolerate so much Tom Waits before it is overpowering. Like barbeque, good alt-country sung by a woman is something I could do everyday. ”
"If Tom Waits had a singer/writer daughter in Memphis, it would be Askew with her gallery of lost souls on the graveyard shift. Gutsy, bluesy, and a bit boozy, she quietly sings with jagged languor and a skewed spirituality. Discreet percussion, guitar and, on occasion, wistful lap steel notes sagely frame her rough-hewn sophistication."
“She’s drawn toward the dark and quirky aspects of human nature, and giving hallucinogenic drugs to a canine undoubtedly qualifies as both. If there’s a point of reference to her songs, it’s at some hypothetical crossroads where the music of Tom Waits might make babies with that of Lucinda Williams, giving birth to children with an eye for the skewed stories of off-the-beaten-path places and people of the South. ”
“Grace Askew has been busy in recent years cofounding the expectations of those who see her as just another pretty girl with a guitar. Her music, already a step removed from coffeehouse pabulum thanks to her deep, smoky voice, took a darker, Tom Waits-inspired turn on this haunting full-length debut, featuring excellent contributions from multi-instrumentalist Richard Ford and Askew's jazz-informed backup band, the Black Market Goods.”
“The writing on "Beautiful Mess" is particularly captivating; the imagery is striking and the rhythmic design is lilting yet authoritative, playful yet insistent. The boyfriend bought the album during one of her set breaks, and we listened to it in the car as we left. After about three or four tracks I'd say I was convinced that I needed to own this album, so the next time I'm able to catch her I'll be picking up a copy of my own. I would just burn his, but as I said to him, I really like this music. I want to give her my money. If you like female singer/songwriters with a bit more edge, and of course especially if you like the blues, you should give Grace Askew a twirl.”
“Fast-forward two years to Until They Lay Me Down To Rest, Askew’s first full-length recording — the release of which she will commemorate with a show Friday at The Warehouse Downtown — and you can hear Askew has found that rawness. The record, produced by the singer herself, is a darker, bluesier affair with songs about sin, obsession and death. And Askew, whose voice is deeper than your average pop ingénue’s, sings them with the appropriate amount of shading, even menace.”
"...I was blown away with her husky voice, stage presence, and nice guitar work. She reminded me of a cross between Cat Power, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, Neko Case, and a lot of soulful Memphis roots thrown in with a little of her own flair as well."
"..in her crooning there is a soul familiar to women from the south, who can strip a tune bare and pour themselves into & straight through it. The songs follow a cycle of love, beginning with spring romance before advancing to further, darker corners.."
"...if it's beauty that gets Askew's foot in the door, it's talent that propels her through. In just four short years of performing live, the popular 21-year-old singer-songwriter has become respected across a wide spectrum of the music community.."