Album reviews are kind of pointless these days. Why should my opinion on an album make you want to listen it or not? And who wants to read 1,200 words about something you should be listening to anyway? That being said, my official review for Ashley Monroe’s brand new album, Sparrow, is that it is really good, it’s painfully raw and makes you feel like you can actually pluck the sadness out of her voice and your speakers.
Much of Sparrow is dealing with the grief of Monroe losing her father at 13, but there’s also this deep joy in her voice that comes through and that comes from opening up about what it is like to go through something so tragic at a young age and finally dealing with it years later.
The songs aren’t all melancholy, there are also a couple of liberating and lyrically visual songs about, you know– sex.
What makes Sparrow different from Monroe’s previous releases is that she recorded this one with Dave Cobb in the historic Studio A. The songs are laced with strings and piano. She also recorded most of it while she was pregnant. Sparrow is classic country meets folk and gospel album that bring on the emotion, but you can also listen to it in your car– Monroe is. She told NPR, “I love it, too. I told Dave when we were making the record that I can’t stop riding around and listening to myself and I still can’t. ‘Cause I love myself now all of a sudden!… Oh yeah, I’m not kidding. I really do. I open my sunroof and I roll down my windows and I blast it.”
In brief, if you like Miranda Lambert, you will like Sparrow— Monroe is her best friend and frequent collaborator. If you’ve also wanted to know what Vince Gill would sound 30 years younger as a woman– well, here you go.
Songs that’ll make you cry: “Orphan,” “Daddy I Told You,” “Keys to the Kingdom,”
Songs that won’t make you cry (maybe): “This Heaven,” “Mother’s Daughter”
Songs you’ll blast in the car: “Hands On You,” “Wild Love,” “Paying Attention,” “Hard On A Heart”