Rock ’n Rolling on the River with Grace Askew

Posted on October 29, 2014


By: Megha Fernandes



October is a “haunting” time of year, a word that also captures the musical performance of Grace Askew, one of the many artists who performed at the River Arts Festival that took place from October 24 through the 26th. The festival featured artists of almost every genre, from R&B to pop to jazz and, of course, an Elvis tribute artist. Grace Askew’s music mixes genres and is  often described as “blues-y country,” or as she likes to call it, “bluntry.” Her rich voice, guitar savvy, intense lyrics, and Elvis-like leg twists even seem to qualify her for the categories rock and blue-eyed soul.

Playing a mix of original songs and covers, Askew’s voice saturated the crowd with the warm intensity. It sounded like the voice of the musical love child of Lana del Rey and Stevie Nicks. The bitterness that was attached to every note told the story of a strong, broken-hearted woman who, fortunately for us, had a guitar and powerful stage presence to share her tale. Begging “don’t leave me” in one of her songs, I wondered, with a voice like that, who would? As the performance continued, the sadness faded, and a celebration emerged through her music’s effervescent change in tone, in what seemed to be an ode to the ever-changing waves of life.

The River Arts Festival is just one stop on a nationwide tour for the 27-year-old Memphis-native and her pick-up truck Wanda. Askew’s Memphis roots and love for the city grow even deeper with the fact that she recorded her latest album, “Scaredy Cat”, at Sun Studio, the home of legends such as B.B. King and Johnny Cash.

You may recognize Askew from her popular performance of “These Boots are Made for Walking” on The Voice, where she wowed the judges and joined Blake Shelton’s team. Though she ultimately did not win the show, her unique voice and passionate, sensual melodies have gained her recognition and praise by many music lovers, including the audience at the festival, who seemed intoxicated with her heartfelt ballads. Askew returns to her home city in a couple short weeks, so if you’re looking to become entranced by a new, soulful artist, check her out at Minglewood Hall on November 13th. Until then, her album is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and CDbaby. 

Posted in: Music