9 Songs, 31 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ashley Monroe has been a country star waiting to happen for some years now. Like a Rose—her first solo release since her stint with The Pistol Annies—deserves to be her breakthrough. Cowriting with such stellar tunesmiths as Guy Clark, Lori McKenna, and producer Vince Gill, Monroe delivers a batch of songs notable for sharp wit and honest emotion. There are echoes of Loretta Lynn’s honky-tonk feminism and Emmylou Harris' bittersweet grace. Monroe uses her winsome, pure-toned vocals for powerful statements about life, loss, and survival. Songs like the wry “Two Weeks Late” and the poignant “Used” acknowledge the hard knocks of romance with disarming candor. Monroe manages to sound genuine whether she’s playing the outlaw (“Monroe Suede”), recalling her troubled past (the title track), or watching love slip away (“She’s Driving Me Out of Your Mind"). “Weed Instead of Roses” and the Blake Shelton duet “You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter)” are saved from novelty-tune status by choice details and satiric edges. All told, Like a Rose is the work of a blossoming talent who may finally be getting her due.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ashley Monroe has been a country star waiting to happen for some years now. Like a Rose—her first solo release since her stint with The Pistol Annies—deserves to be her breakthrough. Cowriting with such stellar tunesmiths as Guy Clark, Lori McKenna, and producer Vince Gill, Monroe delivers a batch of songs notable for sharp wit and honest emotion. There are echoes of Loretta Lynn’s honky-tonk feminism and Emmylou Harris' bittersweet grace. Monroe uses her winsome, pure-toned vocals for powerful statements about life, loss, and survival. Songs like the wry “Two Weeks Late” and the poignant “Used” acknowledge the hard knocks of romance with disarming candor. Monroe manages to sound genuine whether she’s playing the outlaw (“Monroe Suede”), recalling her troubled past (the title track), or watching love slip away (“She’s Driving Me Out of Your Mind"). “Weed Instead of Roses” and the Blake Shelton duet “You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter)” are saved from novelty-tune status by choice details and satiric edges. All told, Like a Rose is the work of a blossoming talent who may finally be getting her due.

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