Ashley Monroe loves songs of heartbreak. Admittedly, writing anything other than about the dark side of love can pose a problem for the East Tennessee native. However, the singer says her new album – the critically lauded The Blade – does touch on a variety of emotions.
“We named the album The Blade because every song had some sort of edge to it,” she said. “‘Weight of the Load’ is very hopeful. ‘Has Anybody Ever Told You’ can be sang to your spouse, your dog, or your kid. It’s just a universal love song. I also loved ‘Winning Streak,’ which is an up-tempo song that has sad content. I love songs like ‘Dang Me’ by Roger Miller because there were depressing lyrics with a beat that made you want to clap along to. It’s not all ‘Debbie Downer’, there’s all different sides of me on the album,” she said with a laugh.
One of the more touching moments on the album is “From Time To Time,” which Monroe says came from a deep place in her heart.
“I got married in October 2013, and I was really missing my dad. I miss him all the time, but this was a reminder that he wouldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle. I was borderline depressed over it. I remember praying for a sign, a dream, anything – and there was nothing. About a week before I got married, I dozed off on the couch – and then woke up and sat straight up. The melody and the lyrics were coming to me so fast…I heard it so clear. I got a guitar, and recorded everything I was hearing down. I was doing a show a few days later with Striking Matches – and asked them to help me piece the rest of the song together, and they did it so beautiful.” That is definitely an understatement, as Monroe’s haunting vocals definitely drive the song home.
One song that Monroe confesses that she hits repeat on is the stunning “Mayflowers.”
Of the tune, she says, “The song is a love song, and could be to anyone. I thought this could be me singing to myself. If I have to wait, that’s what I’m gonna do. It’s a different kind of love song, and can be interpreted so many ways. Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski sang on it, and I could listen to it all day long.”
The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and has garnered glowing words of praise from Spin, Nash Country Weekly, as well as CMChatLive.com. She’s grateful for the buzz, but says that is not her main factor in what she does.
“Obviously, because I respect the music so much, and I know the critics respect it so much as well – when they like it – it makes me feel ‘Oh, my gosh, OK,’ and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I must have done something right. But, I don’t go into making an album thinking about what the critics are going to say.”
The singer will be taking The Blade on the road with her this fall, something she is very much looking forward to.
“I think it’s so important for me to be in front of my audience. I love it when people listen when I sing, and when they are into the music. I’m really bad at telling people to sway and clap, and that sort of thing. I just love to sing and have people doing it. I’ll be doing a lot of small and intimate theaters.”
ASHLEY MONROE “THE BLADE” TOUR DATES
01-Oct – Macon, GA @ Cox Capitol Theatre
08-Oct – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
09-Oct – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
10-Oct – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
27-Oct – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
29-Oct – Washington, DC @ Sixth & I
30-Oct – Wilmington, DE @ World Café Live
13-Nov – Springfield, IL @ Boondocks
14-Nov – Evanston, IL @ SPACE
18-Nov – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic
19-Nov – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic
20-Nov – Nashville, TN @ City Winery
21-Nov – Birmingham, AL @ Workplay Theatre
Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @ChuckDauphin
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Ashley Monroe – The Blade