Ashley Riley - Set You Free (3:18)
“Set You Free” was written the day I bought my first electric guitar. I had an early morning gig on a news show about 45 minutes from where I live, and after I got done there, I decided to check out a local music shop I had heard about. I went in to check out the selection of Martin acoustics, but there was an Epiphone semi-hollow body that was calling out to me, so on a whim I bought it. I came home that night and was having fun getting to know my new guitar, and I wrote “Set You Free.”

This song is about letting go of the things that aren’t working in your life. There’s a mantra that I love — “I release what no longer serves me” — and I think that is really the heart of this song. The meaning of it kind of changed for me as the song progressed.

At first, I wrote it thinking about people who are flakes. The friend says, “I’ll be there, I wouldn’t miss it!” and then they always do miss it and you just know that already. I decided, man, when people show me who they are, I’m gonna believe them. I’m not gonna hold myself back or wait for someone else to get one board, I’m just keeping on keeping on. So at first, this song was about setting those people free, but in the end, you really are freeing yourself, I think. It’s kind of a theme on the whole record; maybe I’ve just reached that age where I’m less concerned with getting someone’s permission or approval. I’m just gonna keep going.