Short Bio

“Folk that makes you feel stuff” is exactly what Ash & Eric L’Esperance (spouses & band mates) set out to create through their collaborative project, The Promise is Hope. Their music marries two distinctly talented songwriters whose sound draws from the deep and vast well of the roots music tradition. Ashley’s airy and intoxicating tone (think Alison Krauss) blends beautifully with Eric’s sweet, deep voice (think David Wilcox). The two artists complement each other in every respect, as with one voice they take their listeners on an engaging musical journey. With tightly woven harmonies, two acoustic guitars, and an easy stage presence, the pair presents a beautifully moving, inspired & connected live set. PopMatters says, “It is folk music, but folk that doesn’t find any quick or easy comparisons. Instead, it might be said that the L’Esperances have found their unique path within the storied tradition.” 

Long Bio

“Folk that makes you feel stuff” is exactly what Ash & Eric L’Esperance (spouses & band mates) set out to create through their collaborative project, The Promise is Hope. Their music marries two distinctly talented songwriters whose sound draws from the deep and vast well of the roots music tradition. Ashley’s airy and intoxicating tone (think Alison Krauss) blends beautifully with Eric’s sweet, deep voice (think David Wilcox). The two artists complement each other in every respect, as with one voice they take their listeners on an engaging musical journey. With tightly woven harmonies, two acoustic guitars, and an easy stage presence, the pair presents a beautifully moving, inspired & connected live set. PopMatters says, “It is folk music, but folk that doesn’t find any quick or easy comparisons. Instead, it might be said that the L’Esperances have found their unique path within the storied tradition.” 

The duo met while playing music at a local faith community in their home-city. They were initially drawn together as friends who shared an appreciation for honest well-crafted lyrics, subtle dynamics, and acoustic guitars. Their natural chemistry was undeniable to both them and others in the room when they first performed a cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Though the take was completely spontaneous, Eric recalls feeling a special surge of energy as their voices blended effortlessly over a finger picked guitar. They both agreed that they had stumbled upon a rare connection, and were eager to begin exploring ways they might work together. It wasn’t quite love at first song, but it wouldn’t be long before Ash and Eric were committed both to a relationship and a musical partnership. They wrote their first album while planning a wedding, and released their debut album, Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going, under the name The Promise is Hope in 2015 — six months after they married.

In the years directly following, the L’Esperances began touring the Northeast, honing their songs and presentation, building their community, and meeting folks who were excited to call themselves fans and supporters. In this season, they won several local music awards, being recognized for their excellence as artists emerging in the New England scene.

In 2017, Ash and Eric began writing their sophomore album. Wrestling with the loss of several family members in close proximity, alongside the collapse of their faith community, the two knew the best way to channel their grief was through music. Out of this cathartic process new songs began to formulate, alongside a vision for a stripped down, raw, and honest album.  In late 2018, in the season of dwindling daylight and snow, Every Seed Must Die, was recorded at Old Bear Studio in Batavia, NY the week before Christmas. Ash and Eric were grateful to work with producer Chris Hoisington who helped them compile a stunning collection of tracks that are unique for their intimate and restrained production. The delicate nature of the subject matter is explored through rich, heartfelt vocals laid over a soft quilt of finger-picked guitars, piano, cello, and Mellotron. The retro-inspired vibe is soul-soothing; listening to Ashley and Eric’s delicately intertwined voices is an experience any lover of fine harmonies will appreciate. 

The production and release of Every Seed Must Die was fully funded by The Promise is Hope’s dedicated and beloved fan base. Their sophomore album was met with positive critical reception. Mother Church Pew says “With spare,acoustic instrumentation enhanced by crisp and focused production, the pair’s delicate harmonies are allowed to soar,a testament to their true musical talent;” and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society has called the album“breathtakingly stunning.” No Depression declared, “The songwriting on this album is exceptional…I come away from many of these [songs] cleansed.”

Summer 2018-19 has seen the duo heavily touring their new songs to receptive and grateful rooms in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Highlights include Mee & Thee Coffeehouse, Club Passim, John Platt’s monthly “On Your Radar” at Rockwood Music Hall, Isis Music Hall in Asheville, The Black Potatoe Festival, and the Grassy Hill Emerging Artist Stage at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

In spring 2019, the pair have invited fans to join them on Patreon, where they are currently releasing two self-produced vlog series. “Beyond the Song” captures candid conversations between Ash and Eric inspired by the songs released on Every Seed Must Die. “The Ketchup” is a monthly, behind-the-scenes documentation of their life as a touring married couple. Their growing Patreon support will help fund the songwriting process for their anticipated third album, which they hope to release late 2020.

LIVE VIDEOS

“The soaring harmonies from The Promise is Hope illuminated the skies over Portland.”
– Steve Dedman, Booker for Vital Connections Through Music Series – Portland, CT

“What a wonderful night with The Promise Is Hope at The Songmaker Series.  Next time they come, you have to go.  Wonderful direct songwriting, BEAUTIFUL harmonies, and great delivery.  You will definitely be hearing from them again!”
– John Hill, Booking Agent, The Songmaker Series – Charlottesville, VA 

Single take audio of ‘Brother’ performed live

OFFICIAL VIDEO

LISTEN

Samples from the album “Every Seed Must Die” (May 2018)

“The songwriting on this album is exceptional…I come away from many of these cleansed” – No Depression

“With spare, acoustic instrumentation enhanced by crisp and focused production, the pair’s delicate harmonies are allowed to soar, a testament to their true musical talent.” – Mother Church Pew

“breathtakingly stunning” – Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society

Samples from the album “Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going” (April 2015)

“I listen to A LOT of music and this album would be towards the top of the pile.”
-Jessica Phaneuf, WUMB (now MVY Radio)

PRESS QUOTES & COVERAGE

The Promise is (more than) Hope.  Ash and Eric L’Esperance provide a sincere and nuanced performance.  We were so happy to be able to have them perform at Voices Cafe.”
– Tim Wilson, Voices Cafe-Westport, CT March 2019

“The Promise Is Hope (Ashley and Eric L’Esperance) [showcased] delicate intertwined harmonies in songs about hope, growth, and mortality…it has that pure ring of truth that goes right through you, leaving chills in its wake.”
My Emu is Emo, March 10, 2019

“What a wonderful night with The Promise Is Hope at The Songmaker Series.  Next time they come, you have to go.  Wonderful direct songwriting, BEAUTIFUL harmonies, and great delivery.  You will definitely be hearing from them again!  When you see them on Ellen, remember I told you so!”
– John Hill, Booking Agent – The Songmaker Series-Charlottesville, VA February 2019

“These guys hit all the marks as far as I am concerned. Professional, spiritual, personable, just right emotionally. Their overall presentation was top notch in terms of a musical performance.”
– Larry Stephen, UTR Media October 2108

“Defined by its minimalist arrangement, ‘Every Seed Must Die’ is a gorgeously crafted song that hinges more on its story and how it’s conveyed than any particular hooks or frills. All the L’Esperances need are their collective heart to ferry ahead, manifesting in the delicate sweetness of their harmonies…”
– Jonathan Frahm, For Folks Sake video premiere August 2018

“Ashley’s…and Eric’s [vocals] are so poignant, subtle and all-encompassing. You don’t know them personally but their voices will get into the pores of your skin and down into the marrow. This is simple, well-played material but loaded with emotion. The songs are all well-crafted. Together, their voices have a special eloquence.”
– John Aspice, No Depression Album Review July 2018

“…[R]ich, emotional voices and the subtle instrumentation beneath them. It is folk music, but folk that doesn’t find any quick or easy comparisons. Instead, it might be said that the L’Esperance’s have found their unique path within the storied tradition.”
-Jedd Beaudoin, Pop Matters May 2018

“Their songs are lined with rich vocal harmonies, often times interweaving into one collective and solitary sound of 2 guitars and 2 voices.”
-Brian Carroll, Red Line Roots Premiere’s ‘Brother’ Video, May 2018

“With spare, acoustic instrumentation enhanced by crisp and focused production, the pair’s delicate harmonies are allowed to soar, a testament to their true musical talent.”
-Mother Church Pew, ‘Brother’ Premiere, April 2018

Every Seed Must Die features eleven original songs of love, life, loss, despair, hope, and, ultimately redemption. Their voices blend so well together that lovers of exquisite harmonies will relish these cuts…breathtakingly stunning.”
-Don & Sheryl Crow, Nashville Blues Society, April 2018

CLICK HERE for additional press quotes.

PHOTOS

ACCOLADES & AWARDS

2019 Grassy Hill Emerging Showcase Artists, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival

Winners of 5 Worcester Music Awards, including Americana Act & Best Album

2018 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Semi-Formal Showcase Artists

Nominated for 2018 New England Music Awards
Roots Act of the Year

Nominated for 2018 Worcester Music Awards
Best Americana Act & Best Acoustic Act

Winners of the 2017 Best of Central Mass “Best Entertainer”

Winners of the 2017 Worcester Music Awards
Best Up & Coming Act & Best Pop Act

Finalists in the CT Folk Festival Audition Night (out of 70 applicants & 10 auditions), March 2017
Selected to perform at the CT Folk Festival, September 2017

HAVE SHARED THE STAGE WITH

CONTACT & SOCIALS