These past few months and the changes they’ve wrought on everyone’s lives have no doubt inspired several songwriters to create new works – and in the case of Northern Beaches, NSW/Guringai country-pop artist Ashleigh Ryan, they led to her new song, ‘Those Were the Days’, which is being released today.

‘Covid has made me realise the importance of making the most of each day and not taking things for granted,’ says Ryan. ‘I remember looking at the photo [pictured on the cover art for the single] one day and thinking that life was easier back then in some ways. Most of my fondest memories are of the time I spent playing in the treehouse down the road, and dressing up in costumes with my sister and our neighbour. Every weekend or afternoon after school was a treasured moment.’

While the song is about looking back, the tone of Ryan’s voice betrays no regret, so we have the sense that thinking of those fond memories can only enhance the present. Some may say ‘don’t dwell in the past’ but they’re forgetting that the past can bring joy too, and it’s there in Ryan’s vocal.

Ryan co-wrote the song with Jeffrey Greer, a musician and producer based in Brownwood, Texas, after connecting with him on The lyrics were written over a couple of weeks in June this year, and Greer recorded the instrumental at home in July. The vocals were then recorded in Ryan’s home studio. It’s not the first time Ryan has worked this way – her 2020 single ‘Hope You’ll Stay’ was also created with a collaborator in the US – and that, too, is increasingly a sign of these times. It also opens up the world for those prepared to take the leap, and with Ryan’s country-pop sound she’s in a great position to do just that.

Listen to Ashleigh Ryan on Spotify: