Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
I’ve become quite a fan of country (well, country-pop…) over the past few years, so I’m looking forward to the return of the Radio 2 Country digital pop-up station this week. Its arrival is timed to coincide with the Country 2 Country music festival at The O2 this weekend, where some of the biggest country stars are performing, alongside some up-and-coming artists. Somewhere in the middle of those two categories is Ashley Monroe. She was a member of girl trio Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley, and has released three solo albums, the latest of which is my current obsession. It has a more traditional sound than Taylor Swift or Kacey Musgraves, but is still very accessible for those of us who weren’t brought up in the deep south (though my ancestors are from there… perhaps an explanation for my country fandom!). It’s great from start to finish, but the clear stand-out is the title track, The Blade. Like all the best country songs, it has beautiful harmonies and melodies, a heart-wrenching emotional performance and original, memorable lyrics. If this one doesn’t get you, then you’re officially dead inside. Ashley’s two recent singles On To Something Good and Bombshell are also well worth a listen. The Blade is the one track on the album she didn’t co-write, but interestingly one of the writers, Allen Shamblin, also worked on a similarly beautiful country ballad, I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt.