Ashley Clarke seemed like a promising newcomer when his song “Greyhound” started making its way up the country charts in 2015, but the Nashville native had been performing professionally since 2008. That year, he and his brothers Adam and Austin joined forces for the FOX-TV music competition series The Next Great American Band. Known then as the Clark Brothers, they won the show and signed a record deal with 19 Records. They also toured as Carrie Underwood’s opening act for the first time.
The group’s debut album, Revelations, reached No. 33 on the Billboard chart. It also spawned a single, “Silver Wings.” But when their label dropped them in 2012, they struck out on their own. With help from producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who had made classic hard rock albums for AC/DC and Def Leppard and groomed Shania Twain into a global superstar, Clark began working on his solo debut.
Sir Henry Ashley Clarke GCMG GCVO FSA (26 June 1903 – 20 January 1994) was a British diplomat who served at several diplomatic posts, including Budapest and Constantinople, before becoming Ambassador to Italy from 1953 until 1962. He subsequently became a prominent figure in efforts to preserve Venice, serving as chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund.
He wrote extensively on film and culture, contributing to publications such as The New York Times, Vulture, 4Columns, The Guardian, Sight & Sound and Village Voice. He founded the blog Permanent Plastic Helmet in 2010 and has been a guest critic on the BBC Radio shows The Film Programme and Front Row. He is the editor of the video essay collection Millennials on Film and has moderated and spoken on numerous panels.
He is the curatorial director at The Criterion Collection and has previously worked as a film programmer at Brooklyn Academy of Music, where he curated a number of film seasons, including Black Star (BFI Southbank, October-December 2016; TIFF Bell Lightbox, February 2017), which led to his book, Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2015). He has also written a number of scholarly essays and is the author of the liner notes to The Criterion Collection Blu-ray editions of Lee’s Do The Right Thing and Bamboozled.