Ashley Monroe's new country album a stunner

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The name Ashley Monroe might not ring a bell, but it's a good bet country fans will be hearing more and more about here as 2013 progresses. Until the release of her new album, "Like a Rose," she was best known as one-third of Miranda Lambert's vocal trio Pistol Annies, but she makes a bold claim as both a writer and singer of unusual clarity and conviction, as well as having an appetite for fun. Monroe grew up in in Knoxville, Tennessee —she's related to the legendary Carter Family— and signed a publishing deal before she was 20. The new album, forged with a traditional, acoustic-driven style, deals with modern issues such as unplanned pregnancies, addiction, loss, as well as more light-hearted topics as a weed-infused S&M party and includes a clever duet with Lambert's husband, Blake Shelton, called "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)." She is a sharp-shooting pistol, and in this case, who needs gun control?

Grade: A-