CD review: Ashley Monroe, 'Like a Rose'

Ashley Monroe

Like a Rose


Posted 7:48am on Thursday, Mar. 07, 2013

Women in country music are having quite the moment.

Whether it's established performers like Grammy winners Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood or upstarts like Holly Williams and Kacey Musgraves, the fairer sex is dominating (and more importantly, expanding) the genre in a way that hasn't been seen since the glory days of Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells.

Singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe is another relatively unknown talent who is set to join the ranks of country women worth hearing.

Monroe, one-third of Lambert's acclaimed side project, the Pistol Annies, is no slouch on her own, having penned hits for superstars like Underwood, Lambert and Jason Aldean.

After Monroe's 2009 solo debut, Satisfied, was a non-starter that never received a broad commercial release, she regrouped.

On Like a Rose, her sophomore LP, produced by a pair of Nashville heavy-hitters (Vince Gill and Justin Niebank), she blossoms as a songwriter capable of sly humor, tough honesty and irresistible melody.

Despite Rose's brevity -- nine tracks in 31 minutes -- the 26-year-old Monroe, who co-wrote each song, conveys a wide range of moods, moving from the darkly funny Two Weeks Late and the tongue-in-cheek Monroe Suede to the raucous Weed Instead of Roses and the evocative Used.

Gill and Niebank manage to evoke Music City's storied sonic history -- lots of pedal steel, fiddle and acoustic instrumentation with minimal gloss -- even as these nine songs feel thoroughly modern and ready for heavy rotation.

Like a Rose ends far too quickly, but the final tune, You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter), which features an amusing cameo from Lambert's husband, Blake Shelton, neatly sums up the whole enterprise's fine grasp of past and present.

Hopefully, this fantastic collection will allow Monroe to have her own moment and soon take her place alongside the other single-monikered queens of country.

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me




We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.