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NPR’s First Listen Premieres Ashley Monroe’s New Album The Blade

ashley monroe

Excitement is building around the imminent release of Ashley Monroe’s second Warner Bros. Records album, The Blade. NPR has debuted the album this week as part of its prestigious First Listen feature ahead of the July 24th release date.

Listen here:

“Monroe is a star who’s both arrived and rising: accepted by insiders without losing her veneer of outsider cool,” NPR’s Stephen Thompson wrote, adding “The Blade aims to do more than start conversations; it’s here to win hearts en route to cementing Monroe’s status as a superstar.”

NPR is not the only tastemaker fawning over the 28-year-old singer-songwriter, who will celebrate the release of the album with an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on July 27th. She’s also released five songs to the public already – preorder the album on iTunes or and receive those tracks instantly – from the critically acclaimed 13-track, Vince Gill and Justin Niebank-produced album.

Rolling Stone says the album is “classic, traditional-leaning country music with 21st century sass” that’s “destined to be one of the year’s top albums.”
US Weekly gave The Blade three out of four stars, citing Monroe’s “impressive versatility” and “velvety vocals.” Stereogum enthusiastically endorsed her: “Monroe is more than happy to take her place in the legacy of badass country women who bring darkness into the spotlight.” Taste of Country noted “few sing heartbreak like Monroe.” The Tennessean pointed out an oft-used comparison: “Monroe is one of country’s sharpest songwriters and, at times, is reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton.”

While Parton’s famed beauty was always part of the equation, she is known on Music Row for her high soprano and sharp-witted songwriting and song-picking abilities. Monroe, a Knoxville native, runs the gamut of songs and styles – just like Parton – in the five songs she’s already debuted: Breezy first single “On to Something Good,” the razor-sharp title track, “Bombshell,” “I Buried Your Love Alive” and “Dixie.”

Each has drawn high praise. Rolling Stone said “The Blade” is “devastatingly beautiful” and “the kind of country music that raises every hair on the back of your neck.” NPR said of “The Blade,” “Dolly Parton’s rightful heir lends grace to the breakup metaphor of the year.” Esquire enthusiastically embraced “On to Something Good”: “‘I’m better dancing when I don’t look down’ is a frontrunner for the year’s finest country lyric.” And the song charmed Country Weekly as well: “It’s a gem of a tune that showcases one of the sweetest voices in country music.”

For more information about Monroe, please visit

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