With The Dutchess and The Duke and Passengers, 8 p.m. Sunday, December 13, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513 or www.4215washington.com.
Standing in the shadow of Texas Psych legends like Roky Erickson and Mayo Thompson can be daunting. Standing shoulder to shoulder with them is damned impressive. That's exactly what Lone Star expat Greg Ashley has managed to do over the course of a handful of releases and as many years. Both as a principal in The Gris Gris and as a solo artist, Ashley has honed his particular brand of swirling psychedelic folk to a keen edge, highlighted all the more by the relative cacophony that frequently informs his music. In no small measure, Ashley's use of alternative instrumentation and production methods, often fueled by a sort of penurious necessity, results in concrete examples of his singular vision and uncanny ability to make real the sounds and concepts swirling about in his head. Fragility and bombast; astounding evocation and lyrical obfuscation; a keen melodic sense and an ability to effectively flout traditional notions of songcraft — these are the hallmarks of Greg Ashley's music, and they combine to create something difficult and graceful, arresting and comforting, and altogether wonderful.