Ashley Monroe

2015 CMA Nominations

September 9, 2015 // 19 Comments

Throughout 2015, there have been rumblings of a backlash against the prevailing trends at country radio, and that backlash is certainly reflected in the year’s crop of CMA nominees.

Favorite Females’ Covers of Females’ Songs

August 30, 2015 // 27 Comments

We can thank the shortsighted radio consultant Keith Hill for one thing: drawing attention to the women of country music in a year where so many of them are making outstanding music. As their mainstream counterparts cycle through a series of one-note styles and themes, female country artists are putting out diverse and decidedly more progressive music, even as they draw influence from previous generations. That they do so while supporting each other makes it all the more impressive.

Single Review: Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

August 26, 2015 // 19 Comments

“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.”

Daily Top Five: One Word Song Titles

August 4, 2015 // 30 Comments

Sometimes, just one word is enough to convey a message or intention. When a song has a one-word title, it usually either captures the intent of the song or the most memorable part of the song. What are some of your favorite one-word songs? Here’s my list: Waylon Jennings, “America” Ashley Monroe, “Pony” Brandy Clark, “Hungover”  Alan Jackson, “Chattahoochee Johnny Cash, “Hurt”

Say What? – Vince Gill

June 6, 2015 // 2 Comments

In a long, fascinating interview with the Houston Press, Vince Gill was asked about the recent controversy involving female artists and country radio. Here’s what he had to say: “That’s one of the greatest tragedies in this stretch of life for me,” Gill says. “Because I’ve been inspired as much or more by women artists, equally, than I have as men. So if there’s only a couple that are getting the opportunity to really knock it out of the park at radio, then you just go, “What about Patsy Cline/Kitty Wells/Tammy Wynette/Loretta Lynn?’ “I could go on and on and on and on and name you about 50 great female artists,” Gill continues. “And I don’t know why that is. To me, they’re making much more…interesting records. They’re saying more things I’d prefer to hear, lyrically and song-wise, and that’s compelling. This Ashley Monroe kid, she writes songs like she’s Read More

Daily Top Five: Favorite Songs by Your Favorite Songwriter

April 21, 2015 // 19 Comments

There’s a cool Guy Clark documentary Kickstarter campaign happening right now that I encourage country music lovers to check out and, perhaps, make a pledge toward. Long time publicist, biographer and Guy Clark champion, Tamara Saviano, is in the process of producing and directing a documentary on Clark, a revered songwriter in country music. The campaign is already almost fully funded, which is a testament to the wide and strong impact of Clark. However, while they’ve almost raised the initial funds, any extra money on top of that modest goal will only allow the documentary to be even better than it already promises to be, not to mention the opportunities for various perks that are offered to backers of the project. After reading about and pledging to this campaign, I’ve been going down a Guy Clark Rabbit hole for the last couple of days, which has included listening to songs Read More

2015 ACM Awards: Country Universe Viewer’s Guide

April 19, 2015 // 14 Comments

The fiftieth annual Academy of Country Music Awards air tonight, and Country Universe has you covered!  Here’s a rundown of all of the major categories, along with some commentary from our writers about who should win, who will, and what the nominations as a whole say about the current state of country music. Share your thoughts about this year’s show in the comments, and check back for a list of winners when it’s all said and done. Update: Join the CU crew on Twitter (@CountryUniverse) during the show to share your thoughts as things unfold! Entertainer of the Year Should Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks – Jonathan Luke Bryan – Sam Florida-Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Ben, Kevin Will Win: Jason Aldean Garth Brooks Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Miranda Lambert – Jonathan, Ben, Sam, Kevin BF: I think Lambert is due, but I could get on board with a Read More

Single Review: Sunny Sweeney with Will Hoge, “My Bed”

March 30, 2015 // 7 Comments

“My Bed” Sunny Sweeney with Will Hoge Written By Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and Sunny Sweeney Both Sunny Sweeney and Will Hoge have flirted briefly with mainstream success: Sweeney cracked the top 10 at radio with “From a Table Away,” while Eli Young Band scored a major hit with their cover of Hoge’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” A slow-burning ballad that chronicles the dissolution of a relationship between actual adults, “My Bed” is, unfortunately, too far out-of-step with the culture at country radio for the pair of singer-songwriters to make any new inroads there. But it’s a measured, mature single that deserves a wider audience.

Single Review: Ashley Monroe, “On to Something Good”

February 26, 2015 // 4 Comments

“On to Something Good” Ashley Monroe Written by Barry Dean, Luke Laird and Ashley Monroe Happily, Ashley Monroe has announced a new album that will, once again, be produced by Vince Gill with the help of Justin Niebank. The lead single from the album is “On to Something Good.” Sadly, the single only makes me very cautiously optimistic instead of very optimistic.

Single Review: Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

February 24, 2015 // 9 Comments

“Lonely Tonight” Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe Written by Brent Anderson and Ryan Hurd It’s billed as a duet, but it’s about as much as an equal pairing as Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle back in the day.  Monroe essentially plays a harmony role, singing an answer line from time to time. Not the best use of her talent, though it seems the only way to get her on the radio is in a feature spot, which is better than nothing.   “Lonely Tonight” is a decent spin on the classic “just one more night” theme.

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