July 29, 2015By Brittnee Taylor Newman
You probably already know Ashley Monroe from her duet with Blake Shelton, or her stint in Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert. The Blade is not her first solo effort, but it’s her first since the Nashville songwriter has picked up visibility—and there were very high expectations for this record.
And y’all, this one did not disappoint. It’s the confident work of someone who’s figured out who she is as both a woman and an artist. Underneath her mild, sweet exterior is a songwriter as sharp as she is smart. We get all of those nuances in every song. In fact, Monroe is credited as a writer on every single song on the record but one. This record fits in the current country landscape, while at the same time carving out an unoccupied niche for a work that feels distinctly like Ashley.
This is definitely an album that feels like a full, complete collection of songs; there’s fun, radio-worthy singles, and songs which feel very much like you’re sitting in the Ryman auditorium listening to her whisper-sing into a retro silver microphone. You already know that I love the first single; now here’s three of my new favorites from Ashley Monroe.
If Love Was Fair
A fair look at life after love lost. There’s a few cool twists on the meaning of words (a play on the golden rule, being stuck between a rock and getting stoned), and the smart jabs of a woman who’s finally figured out she’s going to be okay after a breakup—even if she isn’t happy about it. What really makes the song great though, is that it’s paired with a melody that’s more peaceful than tortured, making it a totally singable end-of-summer tune.
If love was fair,
I’d be golden,
Cause you’d be there.
I know it’s patient, I know it’s kind,
But it wouldn’t change it’s mind out of thin air
If love was fair.
A sassy song that jumps between Memphis blues riffs and a more modern country melody.
If I ever get out of Dixie, I’m gonna buy me some brand-new shoes.
I’m gonna have somebody shine ’em up, soon as I pay my dues…
It was the mines that killed my daddy,
It was the law that killed my man,
It was the Bible belt that whipped me when I broke the 5th command.
If the Devil Don’t Want Me
There is a weightlessness and quick-footed surety to her riffs, that I love. She’s one of those singers that just makes it sound so easy. The bones of this song feel very reminiscent of Dolly Parton to me.
I’ve heard stories
About honkey-tonk angels,
Picking up pieces of broken strangers.
I’m at right bottom with the smoke and the sin,
Where the party is over,
But I’m lonely again.
If you checked out her album, let me know what you think!
The Dadgum Debutante