Review: Ashley Monroe displays Dolly-sized persona

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Ashley Monroe, “Like a Rose” (Warner Bros.)

“You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter),” a single from Ashley Monroe’s album, “Like a Rose,” finds her trading tongue-in-cheek lines with country star Blake Shelton on a witty duet soaked in Nashville traditions.

Despite what the lyrics contend, Monroe shares many traits with Dolly Parton. She comes from a struggling family in East Tennessee. She sings in a fetching, tender-yet-strong warble. She writes story-songs steeped in real-life drama, yet with a sunny underpinning. And she has a natural, down-home charisma that shines through on everything she does.

A member of the Pistol Annies, Monroe’s big-name supporters are many: Vince Gill co-produced her album and she’s already collaborated with Jason Aldean, Ronnie Dunn, Wanda Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Jack White, Dwight Yoakam and the rock band Train. No wonder “Like a Rose” has the audacious sound of a newcomer whose talent is already in full bloom.

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