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Ashley Monroe

Ashley Monroe

The Blade
By Claire-Louise



I think it’s fair to say Ashley Monroe was one of Nashville’s best kept secrets, well that was until of course she teamed up with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley to form the Pistol Annies back in 2011. Rising to fame with the Annie’s gave Ashley a stepping stone to releasing 2013’s sweet gem ‘Like A Rose’. But that wasn’t the first time she’d released an album, her debut, ‘Satisfied’ was released way back in 2006 but sadly it slipped under the radar. It is worth mentioning though that a newer version of ‘Used’ made an appearance on ‘Like A Rose’.

With her sweet sounding vocals and traditional country sounding melodies I find it quite hard to believe it took so long for the industry to sit up and take notice. At least they’re listening now…

The Blade is a stunning collection of tracks, it was produced by Vince Gill and Justin Niebankand unlike the last record it brings out a more vulnerable side to Ashley, with evident themes of heartbreak and loss throughout.

It’s not all bad though, lead single On To Something Good had moderate success on the country chart Stateside. Co-written with Barry Dean and Luke Laird it includes lyrics such as “Lost and found Im better dancing when I dont look down, hard times show up but they dont hang around it’s a feel good track that reflects a happier state of mind. At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking this is going to be a happy record.

Deep inside me, there’s a shallow grave that haunts me every day.she sings on I Buried Your Love Alive it’s a typical break up song that is influenced by the blues, on which Miranda Lambert shares by singing backing vocals. It’s dark and gritty and I envision a video similar to that of Two Black Cadillacs (Carrie Underwood) if this was to become a single. ‘Bombshellis about needing to say something that is quite difficult to say and realising that there’ll never to a right time to say it. A duet with Vince Gill appears in the form of ‘The Weight Of The Loadwell, it’s more he features on backing vocals. Album title track The Bladeis the only song Monroe didn’t have a hand in writing. Nevertheless it’s one of the stand outs from the entire record. I thought we were both in all the way but you caught it by the handle and I caught it by the bladeyou can almost hear the pain of the knife going straight into her heart as she sings, it’s quite a tearjerker to say the least. Winning Streakis one of the records more, joyous moments. The intro took me completely by surprise, it’s almost jazzy sounding, it gives me slight Lindi Ortega vibes and I love her records, however I really don’t know how to feel about this one song. The sweet sounds of ‘From Time To Time(co written by Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis), ‘If Love Was Fair, and Has Anybody Ever Told Youbring back the softer tones. The latter is a masterpiece both lyrically, “Baby you don’t have to try your light just shines on its ownand musically with a beautiful combination of a piano and strings. It’s not just a highlight of The Blade but a highlight of Monroe’s career. End of. Dixieis another co-write with Sarah and Justin. It’s a track about leaving Tennessee and features some very witty lyrics “It was the Bible belt that whipped me when I broke the Fifth Commandamazing. The up-tempo tracks continue with the undeniably country song If The Devil Dont Want Me. The pretty sounding Mayflowerswas written in 2008 with Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs) and features vocals from the lovely Alison Krauss.

The records final track is Im Good At Leavin which was a co-write with Miranda, it’s a lovely light hearted song that gives a perfect ending to the album.

Overall ‘The Bladeis an enjoyable album. Stand out tracks include I Buried Your Love Alive, The Bladeand Has Anybody Ever Told You.

It would be unfair to compare this offering to Like A Rose as they are quite simply two very different records. I can’t wait to see what Ashley brings us next time around.


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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