Press release on Ashley Monroe's Like a Rose:
Ashley Monroe, a member of the critically acclaimed trio Pistol Annies, will release her first Warner Nashville solo album, Like A Rose, to digital outlets on December 18, 2012. The physical CD drops at retail January 22, 2013.
Most folks, as soon as they hear Ashley Monroe, instantly recognize one thing: she’s the real deal. Her songs resonate so profoundly because they reflect the experiences of an artist who, although she is just 26, has already seen both the best and worst that life has to offer.
Like a Rose has been a long time coming. Monroe has been creating music for more than half of her life—attracting along the way kudos from such music world giants as Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, Vince Gill and Jack White. Her new, full-length album release serves both to fill in the back-story and impart to us who she is today. At times her songs are dead serious, at others utterly hilarious, but always Monroe is an original with a compelling story to share.
Monroe spent her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she immersed herself in all varieties of music ranging from country—she’s not-too-distantly related to members of the legendary Carter Family—to rock, pop, rap and even opera. When she was 11, Monroe won a talent contest singing “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” and two years later her father gave Ashley her first guitar. She developed a passion for writing songs, discovering that she could easily communicate her thoughts and sentiments through a six-string and her dynamic, exceptional voice.
Shortly thereafter tragedy struck, upending the young girl’s world. Monroe’s father was diagnosed with cancer and died when Ashley was 13. The young girl immersed herself in music. Monroe and her mother moved to Nashville so that Ashley could pursue her dream. It didn’t take long to find believers. Within a year Monroe had signed a song publishing deal, secured a recording contract and released a single, “Satisfied,” a sizable hit that put her on the map. Then another roadblock: Her record label merged with a larger company, and declined to release her already-recorded album. Although the Satisfied album found a home on iTunes, Ashley, only 20, was, in a sense, back where she’d started.
She didn’t let that stop her though, and with a lot of hard work and determination, Monroe kept honing her craft and putting herself in front of anyone who would listen. Her fandom grew steadily and fellow artists began to notice.
In 2008, Ashley cut a highly praised EP with singer-songwriter Trent Dabbs and a few years later, at the invitation of Jack White, she sang background vocals on an album he was producing by the iconic country-rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson. And just to prove how versatile she is, Monroe also contributed vocals to the track “Bruises” on the 2012 album California 37 by the rock band Train.
Despite her list of previous accomplishments, everything she’s done so far feels like it’s been pointing the way toward Like a Rose. With songs that run the gamut from feel-good to controversial to contemplative, the album, produced by country music titan Vince Gill, offers the full range of Ashley Monroe’s songwriting and performing skills. To maintain the honesty of Ashley’s songs, Gill and the singer chose to record the album the way most of the greatest albums ever were made: sans gimmickry. “We just got the band in a circle and started playing the songs,” Ashley says, “and once we felt like we had a feel for it, I’d do my vocal live—I never went back in to do a second vocal. Everyone put everything we had into the songs. There was a buzz in the room. We all had fun—it felt like a big old family, the way records used to be made.”
Some of the songs were newly written for the album; others date back several years and felt right to revisit. The semi-autobiographical title track, one of the uncontestable highlights of the set, was co-written about six years ago with another totem of the American song-crafting community, Texan legend Guy Clark.
One song that is bound to raise some eyebrows refers to the same favored flower of the title tune, but in a much different sense: “Weed Instead of Roses” tells of a woman’s desire to get a gift she actually desires from her beau, not just something that smells good.
“You Got Me,” co-written by Monroe and Karen Fairchild. Says Ashley, “It’s about an addiction to something—one thing or another, whether you’re stuck in a bad relationship or alcohol or whatever it is—and you try to hide it and fight it but you’re kind of saying, ‘Alright, you got me.’
On a more light-hearted note is “Monroe Suede,” based on “a slick character that tries to get away all the time.” Another is the self-explanatory “You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter),” a duet featuring CMA Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton. “Morning After” confronts that uneasy feeling that often follows a too-good time and “She’s Driving Me Out Of Your Mind,” written with Jon Randall Stewart, comes straight from one of Ashley’s many journals. “Two Weeks Late” was suggested by singer-songwriter Shane McAnally, who co-wrote it with Monroe. “He came in and said, ‘I heard this phrase at the ATM: I’m a dollar short and two weeks late.’ That was another one that just fell out. I grabbed the guitar and we started writing it up.
“Used,” another standout, is an update of a song that appeared on Monroe’s Satisfied album. “It came to me when I was about 17 and my manager at the time had just bought me this old 1950s Gibson guitar,” she says. It came into my mind that things are worth more used, and I thought about my mom, who had lost my dad when she was 38. I was thinking, she had two kids, she’s been through a lot, and, bless her heart, it’s all gonna be worth it. Vince and I worked up this new version, which made it fresh for me.”
Grammy-winning group, The Mavericks, announce the release of In Time, their first album in seven years and their first for The Valory Music Co., slated for release on January 29th. The project will be released in conjunction with the band’s 20th anniversary of their first major label album release.
The Mavericks' distinct sound, which has taken Country to places the genre has never been, is again evident throughout the new 14-track album, produced by lead singer Raul Malo and Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon).
With their new album, time melts once again and the band that defied definitions, blurred genres and made everybody feel good, is back. Whether it’s the Buck Owens-influenced “Dance In The Moonlight,” the panoramic Orbison-esque “Born To Be Blue,” the horn-punctuated retro noir “Back In Your Arms Again” or Tejano-esque “All Over Again,” The Mavericks have once again found the way to make genre-defying soul music.
For Malo, the lead singer with the rich supple voice that’s second to only Roy Orbison in its ability to convey lonesome, desire and vivre; drummer Paul Deakin and multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds; as well as longtime collaborator keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and seasoned guitarist Eddie Perez, life has become richer in terms of experience, playing acumen and a sense of their own musicality. It has also deepened the connection between them in a way that heightens the singular chemistry that made the award-winning band one of the most exciting live acts in any musical genre.
Omnivore Records will give listeners more to discover in Townes Van Zandt when the 28-song, two-CD set is released on February 5, 2013. The recordings that comprise the set have been hidden away in the vault since their initial recording and are now presented with the cooperation of the estate. Due to acquisitions by various labels of the initial Poppy Records recordings, these session recordings have sat on the shelf with no one knowing quite where to find them — until now.
Following ten studio albums, several singles and several live albums, the troubled life of the influential singer-songwriter, performer and poet came to a close on New Years Day 1997.
Omnivore is pleased to finally be able to present, after many years in the works, a two-CD set of previously unavailable music from the Texas singer-songwriter’s classic albums High, Low & In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. One disc features outtakes and alternate takes/mixes of tracks from the sessions for those LPs; the other highlights solo demos. The set offers a window into the work that went into those two brilliant recordings, from a time when Van Zandt was at the height of his songwriting powers.
With alternate takes and mixes of songs like “To Live Is To Fly” (presented in both alternate take and demo form) and the classic "Pancho & Lefty" (a mix made alongside the known version, but without the strings and horns of the commercial version), Sunshine Boy is an essential release for all true Townes Van Zandt fans. The quiet and largely solo demo disc provides an intimate portrait of Van Zandt demo-ing songs, some of which would become his best-known compositions.
As Escott explains, “alternate versions add an entirely new dimension, like seeing someone you thought you knew so well in a new light. The new songs are simply good to have when it seemed the barrel was empty. And so here are more than two hours of Townes Van Zandt — music unheard since the engineer peeled off a little splicing tape to seal the box 40 years ago.”
Escott’s comprehensive liner notes, unseen photographs from the era and some entirely unheard songs, make this collection a must-have for fans of one of the best songwriters of his time.