Rancho Cucamonga, West Covina, San Clemente, Palmdale
MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS:
Ashley Runner (vocals); Al J. Cooper (guitar, vocals); Bruce Thomas (pedal steel); Gary Crum (drums); Chris Jurado (bass, vocals).
Current female country stars (can you hear the Carrie Underwood here?) merged with the twang of yesterday’s Telecaster masters (e.g. Merle, Waylon) plus a little of “Joe Walsh’s party” for good measure.
You’re only as good as the company you keep. And we’re guessing that country act Ashley & West 10 shares that mindset. They’re a talented and entertaining bunch in the least, but they’ve also aligned themselves with bands, venues and gigs that’ll keep their primary goals alive: “A hit record at most,” says guitarist/vocalist Al J. Cooper, “or to make a living making music, at the least.”
Venues include Norco’s Maverick Saloon, a destination for all things country and western, where Ashley & West 10 appeared on numerous occasions. They’ve also starred at the Cadillac Ranch in Apple Valley.
“Both places have made us feel at home for almost 10 years—and even more so after Ashley joined the band,” says Cooper, “where we can play most anything we want, whether it’s our own music, alternative country, classic stuff, or the new country music.”
Though they’ve got several countrified iterations covered, they’re definitely not of the “bootsgazin‘” variety. “I don’t think you’ll find another country band willing—or able—to jump off the stage and start line dance with the crowd while they’re still playing,” Cooper adds.
Ashley & West 10 (the band once lived near a westbound Interstate 10 onramp) even performed with the famed Oak Ridge Boys—though they weren’t entirely on step. “All of us had nerves going because it was our biggest show to date,” Cooper recalls. “No curtain, and the MC announced us before we were on stage—‘Ashley & West 10!’ was announced, and we walked out to . . . dead silence. Nothing will put the fear of God in you like that sound.”
Fear be damned, they’re aiming to record later this year (finances permitting) and will hit the Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino in September, likely surprising onlookers, many of whom have complimented them in the past. “We just tell them we’re working our way up the ladder,” says Cooper. Next rung, please.
Ashley & West 10 at The Maverick Saloon, 3841 Old Hamner, Norco, (951) 734-6640; www.mavericksaloonnorco.com, Fri-Sat., July 17-18, 9PM.