Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from one of our favourites, Joshua Ketchmark. Ashes was released on the 10th of March 2023 and is based on his experience of going through a difficult situation. Emerging the other side of it with a newfound sense of clarity, this is a story of perseverance and coming through difficult times.

Ashes starts with some gentle (either capo or high tuned) strums on guitar with Hammond underneath. The thin sound of the guitar gives the track a huge impact when the full sound of the band comes in and is a powerful trick to grab the attention of the listener.

Vocally, we’re always impressed with Joshua. There are elements of Jon Bon Jovi in the powerful notes in his voice, and the passion and energy is evident. His gentler notes are understated and well-performed, giving him plenty of opportunity to create rise and fall in the track with nothing more than the vocals.

The gentle strums and Hammond are joined by simple drums and bass that lead to a stop into a chorus with some superb Bon Jovi-like harmonies. There’s a Fix You (Coldplay) feel to the melodies in the verses. The incidental pedal steel is a very authentic touch, giving the song a great Americana/ Country feel.

As the song progresses, you feel yourself leaning into the choruses and singing along. Some perfectly placed incidental piano is added into the mix as well, which is a great touch. If you’re not singing along by the end, we’re really not sure why! This is a truly anthemic track.

Ashes makes superb use of stops; creating tension and release at all the important moments in the song. The final section has a simple pedal steel solo, with some glorious high vocal riffs from Ketchmark, and ends with a long note on Hammond.

Ideas from our ears

A few EQ cuts in the vocal track along with some mid-level compression could really help it fit better in the mix. Cuts around 190Hz, 470Hz, 650Hz and 1.3kHz followed by the compressor would make a difference. A wide boost across the high mids and highs in the whole track would give it more brightness and presence too. A single band compressor set at 100Hz and below could add extra depth and thickness to the low end as well. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

Another superb track from rising star, Joshua Ketchmark. Ashes is a slow Americana/country ballad to warm your hearts and have you singing at the top of your voice joining in by the end.

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