Hometown: Nashville, TN
Sounds Like: Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood
Ashley McMillen is a country inspired singer songwriter from Morgantown, West Virginia, currently based in Nashville, TN. In addition to being an award-winning songwriter and vocalist, Ashley has also made a name for herself as a radio personality on Hitkicker 99.7 Central Virginia's Country. She hosts her very own radio show, The Hitkicker Homegrown Hour, every Sunday night at 11:00 pm EST, in addition to also hosting a monthly music series, The Hitkicker Homegrown Sessions, which promotes local and regional country music talent. Now that Ashley is living in Nashville, her radio show will resume soon via internet podcast.
You can hear Ashley's music on virtually every music platform, including Pandora (Ashley McMillen Radio), Sirius XM Radio, among others, and she has successfully released two radio singles placed in rotation on Central Virginia's Country Radio, "Straight to You" and "You and Me." She is honored to be endorsed as a Breedlove Guitars Artist and is an active member of the Nashville Songwriter's Association International (NSAI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Notable honors, Ashley won the StarQuest Talent competition at the historic Wheeling Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia, has performed for the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, and has supported internationally renowned artists such as Gary Allan, Sara Evans, Tyler Farr and Steel Magnolia, among others. Ashley will release a full length album in 2014.
As a young child, Ashley memorized nearly every gospel hymn and Disney movie soundtrack. She spent weekends watching her Grandpa Mac play pedal steel in his traditional country band at the Mount Heights Community Center. By 8, Ashley convinced her parents to rent a violin from a local music store to play in the school orchestra and by the time she was 15, her parents ventured to cultivate her vocal talent the best way possible in a small town, by sneaking her into karaoke bars to sing Etta James, Reba McIntire, Pat Benatar, and Patsy Cline. During that same year, while snooping through a closet, Ashley discovered her mother’s Epiphone, covered in dust, and taught herself guitar. Soon after, Ashley wrote her first song, “A Dream." The song was scribbled on a paper napkin, a good-luck trend that Ashley continues to follow to this day. - See more at: http://ashleymcmillen.com/
"Ashley McMillen stepped onto the stage virtually out of nowhere. Not exactly nowhere, she’d been living with her sister at a farmhouse outside of Scottsville and moonlighting as the lead singer in a country cover band playing “the animal circuit,” weekend singalong gigs at Moose and Elk lodges.
“I had never played any song I had ever written in public for anyone,” McMillen said.
A friend, local guitar player Michael Clem, helped her chart the music to “Mama,” one of about 40 original songs she’d composed, on a napkin at The Local’s bar and she played it with a band for the first time at an open mic night. Since that moment, McMillen’s known what she wants to do with her life..."
Giles Morris - Cville Weekly
“Ashley McMillen: Our own coal miner's daughter
Two years ago, Ashley McMillen showed up at The Local in Belmont for its Monday open mic night with a bunch of original songs. Until then, she'd never performed them publicly. What happened would change her life and launch her into a Charlottesville-based country music career.
McMillen's story begins with such a made-for-Hollywood narrative that it even makes her laugh. Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, and the daughter of a coal miner (she remembers her daddy coming home covered in coal dust, and him letting her put stickers on his miner's cap), she first sang in church and later trained as a classic violinist. But she also "messed around" with the guitar......”
Dave McNair - The Hook
“To the untrained ear, Ashley McMillen’s recently released EP, Now I Know, might sound like country. In fact, it might sound “very country.” But play the tracks again, and you’ll hear the layers—influences from gospel and blues and hymns to ’80s pop. “A lot of folks have said I’m similar to Emmylou Harris, which is unbelievable. I take that as a huge compliment,” says the Morgantown native. With all the usual suspects—vocals, guitar, bass—Ashley and her band round out their sound with full drums, electric guitar, and a pedal steel guitar, not to mention the occasional violin, piano, organ, and harmonica. “We’ve got a great sound, and you can hear that on the EP,” she says.”
Rachel Henderson - Morgantown Living/West Virginia Living Magazine
“A year ago, singer/songwriter Ashley McMillen never could have dreamed her career would have taken off like it has. In the past several months, the Morgantown native has found a home and made a name for herself in the welcoming music community of Charlottesville, Virginia...”
Rachel Henderson - West Virginia Sound Blog
“McMillen's star is rising with her music being played on radio stations regionally, and she and her band have begun touring behind new songs she's written, including "Now I Know," a song of hers that is entered in the national Texaco Country Showdown Songwriting Competition. While McMillen claims influences as wide as Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, her family's musical background and her formative years in West Virginia led her to appreciate country music.”
Bill Kramer - The News Leader- Staunton
“An intimate, half hour interview and performance on WTJU's Folk and Beyond with Peter Jones.”
Peter Jones - Folk and Beyond
“Ashley is featured in the June/July 2012 Edition of West Virginia South Magazine. A special thank you to Cindy Martin!”
Cindy Martin - West Virginia South Magazine
“On this episode, you’ll hear a performance from singer/songwriter Ashley McMillen recorded on April 9th, 2012.
Ashley’s a Morgantown native who now resides in Charlottesville, Va, but she came back to town recently to promote her new EP “Now I Know.” The EP features 5 songs with a full backing band, but for this Morgantown Sound session Ashley simply brought along an acoustic guitar and her voice. Ashley works within the genre of country music, and much of her record focuses on themes of family as well as roots.”
Alec Berry - Morgantown Sound
“McMillen proudly represents family, roots in her music.”
Lindsey Fleming - The Dominion Post
“Ashley talks with host Rich Miller on The Extreme Truckers Radio in Nashville, TN about her songwriting, experience recording her CD, her fellow bandmates, and plans for the future.”
Host: Rich Miller - The Extreme Truckers Show
“VISIT ASHLEYMCMILLEN.COM and click on tab titled "PRESS" for all press releases!”
“Ashley McMillen chatted with Anne and played a few songs on Acoustic Sunrise yesterday morning. She’ll be playing at The Southern Friday night along with Scott Tiernan and Shanna Hoar for a CD release party.”
Anne Williams - Ashley McMillen at WNRN
“Local artist Ashley McMillen dropped by to talk about her debut EP "Now I Know" and play a couple songs, before the CD Release at The Southern on 1-27-12.”
Brad Savage - The Corner Lounge- 106.1 The Corner Radio
“McMillen releases CD during tonight's Southern show”
The Daily Progress