Ashley Monroe – Like a Rose
A Country record like it used to be and oughta be.
Just when I was beginning to suffer from a little known syndrome called ‘pedal-steel’ fatigue along came this delightful Country record from Pistol Annie, Ashley Monroe. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I got excited whenever I heard the twang of steel; but now that Country and America Music has been deemed ‘cool’ the damned thing is turning up on all kinds of tripe as Folk singers try to get airplay by disguising themselves as Alt. Country acts. But; coupled with Ashley Monroe’s honey soaked voice and lyrics my Faith has been restored with this gorgeous release.
The title track ‘Like a Rose’ deals with death/drink/teenage sex/running away/redemption and couldn’t be anymore ‘Country’ if it was wearing a Stetson; as it sent tingles down my spine and put a smile on my face.
This is followed by ‘Two Weeks Late’ which is exactly what it says on the tin; a song about a possible teenage pregnancy and has all the hallmarks of Loretta Lynn and Bobbie Gentry in their heyday, but will appeal to the Grandkids of their original fans too.
It doesn’t take long to get to the track that drew me to this album; ‘Send me Weed Instead of Roses’ which I got sent several weeks ago – and it just might be my song of the year. The title sends out a clue as Ashley wants her lover to ‘spice things up’ but not in the traditional way as she wants to “cut up the teddy bear and get out the whips and chains” and of course he should give her “Weed instead of Roses!” As with many great Country songs there’s a thread of humour and mischief all the way through this belter and I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if Dolly picked up on it either.
Sex, drink and assorted Demons make another appearance in ‘The Morning After’ too; but this time it’s a plain old wallow of a song about regrets, from the point of view of a young woman who has been wronged by the new man in her life (again).
LIKE A ROSE is an absolute joy from start to finish and the finish is yet another belting showstopper as Ashley duets with Blake Shelton on ‘You Ain’t Dolly (and You Ain’t Porter!’ The unlikely couple trade insults like “She’s a whole lot fuller/and you’re a whole lot shorter!” and the result will have you singing and laughing until you press repeat and start all over again.
Don’t ever anyone dare tell me that they don’t make Country music like they used to; because ‘they’ most certainly do and not many do it better than Miss Ashley Monroe.