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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
To say I’m not a die-hard fan of country music would be an understatement (I pretty much stop at Taylor Swift and the Dixie Chicks), but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize originality when I see it. And originality in a genre that’s so played out is something special. Ashley Monroe may not be groundbreaking, but I made it through the album, didn’t I?
All the ingredients for a basic country album are present, and then some. Keep an ear out for some steel guitar and violin as well, extraordinary additions that bring more to the table than one might think.
Monroe’s lyrics, however, are basic and, at times, peculiar (songs The Morning After and Two Weeks Late can be filed under “too much information”). And with Monroe’s tendency to moan in her vocals, my expression as I listened can be likened to the one I wear when looking at a complex Sudoku puzzle.
Monroe foolishly opens with the album’s best song, the title track. Her voice is smooth, complemented especially by the aforementioned steel guitar. Combine that with an upbeat tempo, and this song is a winner. Those that follow, unfortunately, don’t meet the bar.
Like a Rose (album) ends rather soon, with a duet starring Monroe alongside Blake Shelton. Ah, the token duet of the country album. The album is special, but not because of You Ain’t Dolly. At this point, I had no complaints about the short duration.
If Monroe keeps at the facets of Like a Rose that set it apart from the repetitive kin of her genre, she could have a prominent career ahead of her. Country music fans generally aren’t hard to please, but the rest of the world is.
MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High