Ashley Monroe has a new album out Friday, titled The Blade. Fresh off her #1 single with Blake Shelton on “Lonely Tonight,” Ashley returns with 13 songs ranging from the devastating title track about a one-sided breakup to the tender love song, “Has Anybody Ever Told You.” As with her previous solo outing, Like a Rose, Ashley has songs that could work on country radio, but she’s not sacrificing her creative instincts simply to score a hit song.
“I can’t sing anything I don’t feel, or anything that I don’t connect with,” Ashley explains. “And sometimes those don’t add up as hits. Sometimes they do, though. That’s the cool thing. Sometimes they do, and hopefully, one day, mine will. But in the meantime, I have to live with myself, and I’m not good at molding myself into anything else for anyone else.”
Following her own muse has made Ashley one of the most respected singer/songwriters in country music today. Jason Aldean took her song, “The Truth,” to #1 several years ago, and Ashley has scored two major hit albums in her own right as a member of Pistol Annies with pals Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert.
On top of her collaboration with Blake, who she calls “a very selfless human” for showcasing her on his song, Ashley is going on the road with Little Big Town this fall. After nearly 15 years in Nashville, Ashley is finally starting to feel secure about her future as an artist in the country format.
She says with a laugh, “It feels like now that it’s all adding up and, like, and like, ‘Ashley’s not going away. You know, and she’s collaborating with these people, and I guess we might need to listen.'”
Ashley’s biggest champion throughout her career has been her friend and frequent collaborator, Miranda Lambert, who co-wrote the last song on The Blade, “I’m Good at Leavin’,” in addition to singing backup on the title cut.
As previously reported, Miranda joined Ashley onstage for a duet of “Heart Like Mine” Wednesday night at Ashley’s album release show in East Nashville. Video of the performance is now on YouTube. It was Miranda’s first public appearance since she announced her divorce from Blake Shelton, and Ashley didn’t know Miranda was going to perform with her until the show was under way.
Ashley explains, “I didn’t know for sure if she was gonna sing, ’cause she said she didn’t have glam, but she did. I knew once she started hearing me sing, she’d want to sing harmony. That’s how we do. That was an amazing moment for her to come out and just sing her butt off. She’s so pretty, naturally, so she doesn’t even need glam.”
Miranda and Ashley have been friends for 10 years now, and Ashley says, “The love between us truly is like a sister.”
As evidenced by their joint performance Wednesday night, Ashley will be there for Miranda as she faces this next chapter, just as Miranda has been there for her during tough times.
“We’ve definitely gone through a lot together as friends and through life,” Ashley says, “but I can see her and I rocking it out when we’re 90 years old sitting there with a shotgun in her hand and rocking on a front porch somewhere, like The Golden Girls.”
Look for Ashley Monroe to promote The Blade with a performance on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Monday.
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