Country Music

Tommy Ash's Yodeling Country Rock Is Pure Phoenix

Authenticity is a loaded word when it comes to country music.

Nearly every modern country act likes to shout out "real country fans" in arenas, even the ones pumping out bombastic party anthems about red Solo cups, shaking asses, and jacked-up pickup trucks. Then there's the historical struggle of standard honky tonk heroes Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam, guys who notoriously sparred with the country establishment, on the outs for coming across too hippie, too hardcore, or even too twangy.

But even if "real country music" is hard to define, it's hard to argue against the western credentials of Phoenix singer Tommy Ash. She started yodeling as a child, was playing weekends at the old Cheyenne Saloon by age 14, and even played Mr. Lucky's, Phoenix's most legendary honky tonk, which hosted Waylon Jennings, Charley Pride, Marty Robbins, Glen Campbell, and Wanda Jackson (see her fantastic live album In Person) before the nightclub shuttered its doors.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.