WESTFIELD – Country singing sensation Ashley Gearing is heading home this summer.
Gearing, who grew up in Westfield, will perform with fellow country artist David Fanning on Thursday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. on the Green in Westfield. The concert is part of the free summer concert series Music Fest Westfield.
Gearing is well-known as western Massachusetts’ country sweetheart, but now she is all grown-up. She is getting ready to release her next album, which reflects her life as an adult.
“This will be my first major album,” said Gearing. “I’m being really particular about it because now that I’m 23, I guess this is my coming-of-age album.”
Gearing said people here see her as that young girl who got her start locally, but she now lives in Nashville and has been writing and recording practically around the clock to get her album ready.
Recording country songs since age 12, Gearing has spent a decade growing up in the music industry. She said the transition to more adult songs and a sexier image has been natural, partly because she leads a “pretty normal” life.
“I graduated from college and I go to work every day and although my job is writing songs and singing so it’s pretty unique, it’s just normal for me,” said Gearing.
Gearing said the Westfield performance is not part of a tour, but a special show for her hometown.
“It’s so comforting to perform in Westfield – and New England,” she said. “Everyone welcomes me with open arms. It’s comforting to be around the people who have rooted for me since I was 8 years-old.”
Gearing said she is looking forward to seeing family and friends and is excited to perform here.
“The last time I was there, the Green wasn’t even done yet,” she said. “I’m really excited about this.”
Gearing is also excited to perform with Fanning, who is part of the same entertainment management group in Nashville.
“He’s part of the family,” she said.
Fanning is a performer, whose first single, ‘Drink You Away,’ has set the country world on fire. The song was originally written and recorded by Justin Timberlake, “Drink You Away” is Fanning’s interpretation of what the pop superstar would sound like had he recorded in Nashville. Timberlake has praised Fanning’s version, his musical arrangement and his voice.
As the guiding force behind the hot Nashville production team NV Entertainment, Fanning has had a successful career as a producer. He has overseen three number-one hits by Thompson Square and Parmalee, and worked to ready newer acts, like guitar-slinger Lindsay Ell, for the big time.
Taking what he has learned behind the console, Fanning has crafted his own brand of country music, which has a distinctively modern sound. Indeed, he has been called the “Ryan Tedder of country,” in reference to the popular frontman of the pop rock group, OneRepublic.
For more information on Music Fest Westfield, visit www.westfieldonweekends.com. Upcoming concerts include Natalie Stovall and her band, The Drive, together with The Lost Trailers on July 24, and Mystery Tour, a popular Beatles tribute band, Aug. 21.