The devastating news that onetime Cincinnati musician Ashley Peacock had died spread across social media this week, as friends, fans and fellow artists expressed their disbelief, grief and deep appreciation for the singer/songwriter. Peacock died Monday at the age of 40.
A native of Flint, Michigan, where he’d been living again since 2013, Peacock had a big presence in the Cincinnati music scene when he lived here, beginning in the early ’00s. In the mid-’00s he fronted the band The Times, which garnered some national attention. While continuing to perform, Peacock also worked to help other artists in the industry with Soul Foundry Studios, a “creative development collective” based in Flint that Peacock established earlier this decade. Peacock often participated in lectures and panel discussions related to the music business; earlier this year, he appeared on the podcast Antipreneur in an episode called “The Myth of Professionalism,” which offers an example of Peacock’s no-nonsense approach to the biz. He never seemed to put money and marketing matters over artistry.
Peacock had what is best described as an “angelic” voice, riveting in its power and vulnerability. It had the same ethereal, haunting soulfulness heard in the late Jeff Buckley’s voice. Buckley was an avowed influence of Peacock's; late last year, he performed at the 21st-annual Buckley tribute at Chicago’s Uncommon Ground, delivering captivating performances of “All Flowers In Time Bend Toward The Sun" and "Everybody Here Wants You.”
The video from the Buckley appearance and many of the tributes on social media give a good sense of Peacock’s endearing personality. He was kind, sensitive, honest and unafraid to show vulnerability. Peacock was also very funny, as can be seen on his social media pages and in his joke in the video from the Buckley tribute about how he, as a Flint native, brought his own water to the event out of habit.
In 2006, C.A. MacConnell interviewed Peacock for a CityBeat story about The Times. In the piece he talked about the healing power of music and the sense of responsibility he felt about sharing it: "Music is not to be toyed with. It's very powerful. If we can keep some kid from cutting his wrists, then sign me up.”
Peacock’s obituary in the Flint Journal says, “His musical talent and his wonderful voice healed thousands of people that had the honor of knowing him and hearing his creative talent. He loved marketing and helping other artists in their musical careers. He loved spending time with family, taco nights, funny dances, and chocolate galore. He adored and spent the end of his life with his fiance Jaime Lynn and her children. Ashley was a wonderful father, and he loved his children more than anything.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Ashley’s memory, with the proceeds going to his children. Click here to donate.
UPDATE: On Thursday, May 2 there will be a “Celebration of Life for Ashley Peacock” event at Northern Kentucky’s The Vineyard (7101 Pleasant Valley Road, Florence, vineyardchristian.org), beginning at 7 p.m.