Ray and his accordion.

Dear Friends,

On Thursday evening, May 28th 2009, Raymond F. Ashley ended his multi-year battle with cancer. He died peacefully with family by his side.

At the request of Ray's family, if you have any digital photography (or online links to photos) featuring Ray that you can share, or if you have stories, memories, or anything else you wish to share, kindly email memories@rayashley.com.

Ray's father, brother, sisters, and family express their heartfelt thanks to everyone for the outpouring of emails, photos, memories, and offers for support during this very difficult time.


Pennington (New Jersey) - Raymond F. Ashley, 41, passed away on Thursday evening, May 28, 2009, at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville.

Born in Plainfield, NJ, Ray resided in South Plainfield through high school and had been living in Pennington. He was a 1985 graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, earned a BS in Chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a masters in Environmental Science from NJIT.

Ray was a compassionate and caring young man who had numerous interests. He participated in the ROTC program and served in the US Navy aboard the destroyer escort USS Pharris. In addition, he enjoyed running, homebrewing, volunteered in teaching English as a second language, spoke Russian, and was an avid Mets fan.

Ray was a Senior Research Chemist working for Church & Dwight in Princeton, NJ, for the last sixteen years. He was a longtime member of the American Oil Chemists Society, the American Chemical Society, and liaison to the Textile Research Institute. Ray contributed to a broad range of intellectual property, was an outstanding formulating chemist, and developed a range of unique and creative industrial and consumer products.

Ray had a passion for music and, in many ways, it defined him.

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of classical composers, particularly Russian, a deep understanding of numerous musical genres, and a highly developed grasp of modern and traditional harmony.

Ray loved his rock and roll too. This evidenced itself in his approach to performing, improvising, and in his desire for life at its fullest.

A multi-instrumentalist of tremendous skill, Ray mastered numerous instruments including bass, guitar, piano, mbira, and Warr guitar. In recent years he focused his composing and performing efforts on the accordion.

Ray wrote beautiful, quirky music, unencumbered by any constraint other than his imagination. This is how his family and friends will remember him best.

His mother, Virginia M. (McCluskey), died in September of 2003.

Surviving are his father, Francis R. Ashley, sister Sarah Brake and her husband Patrick of Hillsborough, sister Mary Jane Zajac and her husband Trevor of Ulster Park, NY, brother Mark F. Ashley and his wife Tracy of Fort Myers, FL, and a host of nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

A funeral mass will be offered at 10 AM on Thursday, June 4, 2009, at Sacred Heart RC Church, South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Interment will follow at Holy Redeemer Cemetery, South Plainfield, NJ.

Family and friends may attend the visitation on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, from 2-4 & 7-9 PM at the McCriskin - Gustafson Home For Funerals, 2425 Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield, NJ 07080.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ray's memory may be directed toward Sarcoma Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, PO Box 27106, New York, NY, 10087.


Welcome! Click on any of the runes above to get started.

I have preserved the old content from the Superlink website here.  Any information about recordings, and a great deal of general background info can be found by following the links there. Plus, there are still a lot of beer recipes!


Currently I am playing:

Chromatic Accordion (Bayan)
Warr Guitar - also known generically as a tapping guitar, tap guitar, tape guitar, etc.
Keyboards, Piano, Organ, Synths, etc.
Bass Guitar.

The accordions are a relatively new development for me, and I am working on getting a power trio together to play "post-modern accordion rock music".  Until that time I am cutting my teeth with various support and recording gigs.

The Warr Guitar is a special tapping instrument built by Mark Warr.  I think he has built the best sounding tapping instruments ever!  I am most famous (if you want to call it that) for my work as a 'tapper' through the 90's.  The band Three Hour Detour is still together, though on a temporary hiatus.  Please see the old website for more information on this.

Finally, I play the mbira of Zimbabwe.  It makes intricate and beautiful music, in a totally different context than any European music.  This I do for myself (no public performances), but I feel that it has helped my musicianship on other instruments, and mbira music has subtly had an effect on some of my compositions.

Quick Links

My new MYSPACE web page - oh yeah, I am now caught up to the times!
And now, my YOUTUBE page.  Yay! 

Broadside Electric
R Jay's Place
Lidia Kaminska
Frank Jolliffe
Joe D'Andrea
Nicki Jaine
Daniel Schell/Clic Music
Warr Guitars
Jim Popik
Box Five
Accordion Camp
Wally Lawder
Steve Hayden  (New Jersey's most avante garde composer!)

Please note that my E-Mail has Changed to:

Ray's email address (sorry, must have images enabled)

(c) 2006-2007 Ray Ashley/Smoke Detector Productions. 

Photo by Ola Rinta-Koski, Neufchâteau, Belgium 2006