Past the Press Release: An Interview with Daniel Ashmore
Past the Press Release is an interview series featuring a new member of a professional Southern Gospel group. It’s a chance to look past the standard “excited to be here” press release comment and learn a little more about them. Meet The Old Paths’ new bass singer, Daniel Ashmore!
Daniel J. Mount: Did you grow up around Southern Gospel? If not, when did you discover it?
Daniel Ashmore: I grew up going to a Baptist Church listening to Hymns like Sweet Sweet Spirit, The Old Rugged Cross, Just As I Am, Amazing Grace etc. I wasn’t listening to Quartets or any type of Southern Gospel group until I was 17 years old.
I remember sitting in the back of the car on the way back from a college football game listening to Randy Travis singing some gospel songs. My dad and my granddad both encouraged me to try to sing some, and I found that I was able to. I think I was about to turn 17 at the time.
Not very long after joining the choir at the church, my grandparents purchased the Cathedrals’ A Farewell Celebration DVD. I tried to sing along with the singers, and found that I really enjoyed trying to sing the bass part.
About a week later my music minister and grandmother kept telling me about a Southern Gospel quartet called “The Commonwealth Quartet” that were going to be at my church that weekend. I decided to go, and really enjoyed the harmonies and the message that these guys brought. They were very, very nice to me. I immediately started talking to the bass singer and before they left that night they allowed me to get on stage with them and sing The Old Rugged cross and Sweet Sweet Spirit with them. Even though I did not really know what I was doing at the time, these guys were a great encouragement to me, and I will never forget them. When I left that night I knew what I wanted to do. It had to be God showing me all of this because the timing could not have been better.
Daniel J. Mount: What groups were the first to catch your attention?
Daniel Ashmore: Well, I spent most of my time watching “The Cathedrals” and George Younce. I was so amazed at the message of the songs, but what caught my attention right off the bat was how low and clear George Younce was. My brother made a statement which I agreed with. He said that George sounded like a baritone Saxophone. This was something I could relate to because, since fifth grade, my brother taught me how to play Saxophone. I am pretty sure that I wore Youtube out listening to and watching various southern gospel groups. The groups that caught my attention first were “The Cathedrals”, “The Statler Brothers”, and “Gold City”.
Daniel J. Mount: Were you already hoping to be a bass singer before your voice changed? Or did you just find that you had a deep voice after it changed, and then decide what to do it from there?
Daniel Ashmore: I never even thought I would sing growing up, but when I did, I realized I was able to sing lower than everyone around my age.
If you had asked me about singing when I was 13 or so I probably would have told you that I would end up being a performer on Saxophone. I listened to Johnny Cash when I was about 13 and enjoyed his low range but never tried to sing along.
Daniel J. Mount: Who are your bass-singing heroes?
Daniel Ashmore: George Younce was my primary hero. I listened to him more than any other bass singer. It was tough to grow and love “The Cathedral” Quartet then find out that they were no longer together and my favorite bass singer had passed away a few years before I even knew who he was. I found later that I really enjoyed the Bass singing of Tim Riley, Jeff Chapman, and London Parris.
Daniel J. Mount: A mutual friend (J.C. Johnson) has told me that you did some singing with regional groups in Mississippi, before getting the call to go with the Old Paths. Who have you sung with, and do any highlights from your time in those groups come to mind?
Daniel Ashmore: Yes, I did do a little bit of singing with some groups around my area. For a while every now and then I filled in occasionally for “The Masters Quartet” and once for the “Tracemen”. I met a very good friend through filling in for “The Masters” quartet named Donald Tallent.
I ended up singing in a group called “The Fishers of Men” before singing with “The Old Paths”. Although I did not sing with them very long I did enjoy having somewhere to minister through music and singing with my brother Raymond Ashmore in a group before leaving.
Daniel J. Mount: Any non-musical hobbies?
Daniel Ashmore: Yes! I love cars and love Drag Racing. We spent a lot of time Drag Racing when I was growing up. It was some of the best memories I have with my family.
Daniel J. Mount: How can people keep up with what you and the group are doing?