Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Shawn Biggs
From the first time we met Ash Reiter, to the second time we met her again, back out in a drizzly and chilly San Francisco February, two years had fully passed. The young, blonde was still teaching elementary school children and she insists that she was living in a part of Oakland that was as iffy as they come if we were to be speaking of safety. She told us that one of her friends had been shot in the arm, riding his bike through her neighborhood and she'd started thinking that this was something that could happen to her as well. She was thinking about moving to somewhere else, if only her financials would allow such a vertical move. Two years later, Reiter had a band with her and she immediately seemed more comfortable with herself, freer with her music and what she wanted to do with it. It strayed a bit from the wounded and sentimental folk singer that she essentially was when we taped her last, transformed more into a mini-powerhouse, bringing more of a chilled out breeze to her music. It was now all propelled by a sandiness and those white waves whipping against a fried cliff of rocks, unable to move. She's retained that sweet honey and romanticism that gave us songs like "Angie," written for a friend's grandmother, a requiem to a kind old lady who believed in angels and all kinds of magic, and she's also retained a keen sense of astonishment in the simpler aspects of the days that tend to get pushed out of memory. It's a recognition of pretty blue eyes, and perhaps how they can well up in certain situations - or maybe just an imagining of how such a thing might play out were it ever to come to that. It's a dash back down memory lane involving a visit to Treasure Island and Reiter singing, "It's gonna be a cold one and I don't wanna leave," maybe while some sea lions slip out of the water. The songs on her latest full-length have the ring and twirling sound of a carousel, as if we were adrift in an endless spinning and waltzing with a friend or loved one, letting the cool air of an evening get lost in our lungs, eyes and legs. Then, after the waltzing, the dance becomes quicker and sweatier, suddenly getting us covering all kinds of the floor. Then we just start bopping and jumping and we're woozy with endorphins. Words and glances, gazes and touches are memorialized as Reiter sings, clutching to the vast number of subtleties that reach her and then stick around, frozen in their glories.
Ash Reiter's Debut Daytrotter Session