While it can be tempting to give a free pass to an artist who sounds identifiably country, the fact is a good country song does not live on steel guitar alone.
The review contrasting “Live Forever” with “If I Die Young” writes itself. Vulnerable sincerity versus bombastic arrogance. Mortality versus immortality. Acoustic country versus amped up rock. By every measurable standard, “Live Forever” is the polar opposite of “If I Die Young.”
“The Blade” sets a new standard for breakup songs.
The title track from Ashley Monroe’s terrific new album is built around a brilliant metaphor.
Singing as the jilted lover, Monroe tells her ex, “You caught it by the handle/ And I caught it by the blade.”
“Smoke Break” is a remarkably good attempt at a working class anthem. It’s so stylistically different from the “rah rah, let’s party this weekend” approach that has made drinking synonymous with adolescent behavior in modern country music.