- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Songwriter Ashley Monroe finally has her moment
NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - John Grady recently handed Ashley Monroe a box filled with copies of her new album, “Like a Rose.” He’d rushed out of the building and caught her in the parking lot. The arrival of the CDs was a milestone moment for the country singer-songwriter and her manager, the culmination of nearly a decade of work together.
To be honest, Grady was a little misty.
Not Monroe. She tossed the box in her car, put the vehicle in drive and headed right on down the road. Just like she’s always done. Throw out any obstacle and Monroe will deal with it.
“I’m just now learning that there is a master plan,” Monroe said. “Because there’s been many times where I’ve looked up at the sky and thought, `Really? What am I doing? What am I supposed to be doing?’ But now I’m seeing all the good and the bad that I’ve lived and experienced just kind of come together. OK, all that was supposed to happen.”
Witness the glowing reviews and warm reception she’s received for “Like a Rose,” co-produced by Vince Gill, a modern take on traditional country music.
She’s a member of the country music supertrio Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert.
And what about that blingy engagement ring from Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks?
Seems like everything’s wrapped up with a nifty bow for Monroe at age 26. But track her story back to when she was 14 and you get a picture of just how far she’s come.
Monroe lost her father to pancreatic cancer when she was 13, and for a while, her mother to grief. That’s when she started writing songs.
“I thought, `I’ve got to get this out,’” she said. “It was so heavy and so sad and everything had changed so drastically.”
By 14, she was trying to pull her Knoxville, Tenn.-based family back together. She did so by taking a bold step.
“I said, `We’ve got to start over. We can’t be in this town. It’s going to poison us. Everywhere we go people are going to be like, “Are you OK?” or judging us because we weren’t making the healthiest of decisions, any of us,’” Monroe said.
“It was just grief. We were just saturated in grief. I said, `We’ve got to move to Nashville. We’ve got to start over. We’ve got to get a new scene and I’ll write every day and we’ll make this work. We’ve got to make it work.’”
And for a while, it did. Only 15 when she started to haunt Music Row, she caught the attention of songwriter Brett James almost immediately and soon met Grady, who was then president of Sony Music Nashville. Grady guided her into her first record deal and in 2007, Monroe finished her first album, “Satisfied.”
However, “Satisfied” was caught in the gravitational forces of a merger and was never released by the label. She put it on iTunes in 2009 and jokes that 500 people have bought it over the years.
Monroe returned to writing and worked with everyone who’d take her call. She didn’t limit herself to country. She’d pop up all over town, writing with Gill or Lambert or Guy Clark. She recently teamed up with rock `n’ singer-guitarist Brendan Benson to write a song for the TV show “Nashville.” And Jack White has pulled her in to work on projects with Ricky Skaggs and Wanda Jackson.
Monroe’s got the duet “Bruises” with Pat Monahan of Train and is scheduled to tour with that band this summer _ after she releases an album with Pistol Annies this spring. That group is the result of her networking abilities and her late-night inspiration to introduce Lambert to Angaleena Presley by phone, a moment of instant connection among three powerful songwriters and personalities.
“It’s crazy,” Monroe said. “The other day I wrote down everything and I was like, `Wow, I’ve done a lot of things!’ It’s amazing. It blows my mind. But it also makes me happy because it’s bringing all these things together.”
Bits and pieces of those experiences can be heard on “Like a Rose,” which veers from the deep sadness of the title track and “Two Weeks Late” and “Used” to the bawdiness delivered with a wink in “Weed Instead of Roses” and “You Ain’t Dolly (and You Ain’t Porter),” a back-and-forth duet with Lambert’s husband, Blake Shelton, that closes the album.
Gill met Monroe not long after she came to town. She co-wrote a couple of songs on his Grammy-winning album “Guitar Slinger,” and he co-wrote a few songs on “Like a Rose.”
Why did he decide to work with her?
“Well, she writes songs like Guy Clark and sings like Dolly Parton, two pretty great reasons right there,” Gill said with his mellow chuckle. “One would be enough, but to have both, I thought, `Yeah this might be a great way to spend time.’ You love being around the most gifted people if you get the opportunity, and I honestly believe she’s of that brand, of that ilk, whatever is a good word, you know? Everything about her is undeniable.”
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- New Internet security challenge arises for cybercops
- Wife of Obama aide found dead in burning car in home's garage
- Congress creates a legislative fortress for military sex-assault policy
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Go beyond tourism's "top 10" bus tour destinations with Susan McKee as she explores the varied history, culture, food, and gardens, of the world.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!