(CSC) 1. Thanks for your time. Great to be with you. Congratulations on the new record, (The Blade). Thinking about your involvement in the creative process, what gives you the most satisfaction of its completion?
I knew when I had all the songs after I recorded "The Blade," I knew that the record was great, and I loved it so much. The very last song I recorded was "The Blade" and after I finished that I thought to myself, "Okay, that completes the record."
(CSC) 2. You've mentioned that your latest album "The Blade" is a seamless transition to your last album, "Like A Rose." Tell us about your evolution as a singer/songwriter.
I think I've been growing since I very first started in singing and songwriting and that's kind of the point. So I've definitely grown since "Like A Rose." And "Like A Rose" was a lot of songs that I had written when I was 18 or 19 years old that I hadn't gotten a chance to record yet. "The Blade" is definitely showing a newer side of me: things I've been writing lately, kind of how I'm singing lately and how I'm feeling lately. It definitely represents me at 28 years old.
(CSC) 3. It's refreshing to see someone like yourself release music that is truly authentic rather than attempt to satisfy the trends...why is that important to you?
You know, I just love music so much that I have to sing things that I love, that I'm proud of and that I feel. There's just not another option for me. I’ll sing under a bridge and work for tips the rest of my life, have a second job and sing music I love. I'll never give in or sing something I don't love. That's pretty much the bottom line; I respect music and I want to give it my very best.
(CSC) 4. Being 1/3 part of a very successful trio, Pistol Annies...do you and the girls (Miranda and Angaleena) have plans to or would you like to record another record/tour?
Absolutely! We're starting to itch for each other again and being on the road with each other writing songs. We’ve got a text thread going. We don't have firm plans, but it's definitely heading in that direction. I don't think we will ever be able to quit one another, we love each other too much.
(CSC) 5. Having forged such a close-knit sisterhood with Miranda, what do you value the most about your relationship?
She's very much a big sister really to me. We've been there for each other through so many things, it’s been almost ten years now. And that's the closest friend I have. It's a one-of-a-kind kind, kind of love and we've just grown up together… I saw a picture of us the other day that was around the first time we met and we just looked like babies, we were babies!
It’s cool to have somebody who is so successful at what they do. I watch her in how she deals with the touring, how she deals with the business side, but how she's still writing every day…I've been hearing some of those songs and I'm just inspired by her all the time.
(CSC) 6. Back to your latest record, this fall you are embarking on a headline tour to showcase the new material. How are the planning stages coming along and what can fans expect from the show?
They can expect just me singing my heart out. My band is so amazing and they’re going to be playing their heart out. I would just really like to dig into these songs and let loose on stage and tot really have a plan. I'm not really a dancer or anything, I won't be choreographed or anything but no pyro, no lip syncing, and no tracks (Laughs). It will be good live music!
(CSC) 7. Before a live performance, what kind of rituals or routines do you have to prepare yourself for the stage?
I normally like quiet time for 30 minutes before I go on stage, just to not be distracted or frazzled when I go on stage. Today was the opposite of that (Laughs). Everything was broken from the start of the show, but it was alright.
I always ask God to let his light shine through me. That’s one thing that I always do, and I've done since I was a little girl… is let your light shine through me.
(CSC) 8. Having lost your father at quite a young age, how did that unfortunate tragedy prompt you to find new meaning for life in general?
After my dad died I learned how to survive, soon after. I went into survival mode big time. And music was not just something I loved anymore, it was my lifeline. It was my way out of the small town, it was my therapy for writing, and it was everything to me. It was the only thing I had. Music was my only friend through the grief of losing my dad. It’s something I’ll never get over as old as I ever get, but music still continues to help me through that.
(CSC) You grew up in Dollywood country right?
Yes, I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, but we went to Pigeon Forge all the time. It was 30-40 minutes away, 40 minutes with traffic. It is such a beautiful area. I got married up at Blackberry Farms in Pigeon Forge. I love it. Every time I go to the Smoky Mountains I am inspired. Every time I will write some of the best songs I have ever written up there.
(CSC) Did you write songs from the current album up there?
I didn't, I didn't get a chance to go, but Miranda and I go up there a lot and we have so much fun. I have a feelin' there might be a Pistol Annies mountain trip coming up (Laughs).
(CSC) 9. You seem inclined to writing songs that relate to a more somber and realistic side of life, which in a way is refreshing to hear, especially with what’s on the radio now…has this always been your style of songwriting?
Definitely song writing for me, I've taken very seriously and I want it to be the best it can be; it has to give me chills or I have to feel moved by it in some way. There are things on the radio I turn on and I don't feel anything… and that’s scary to me if I'm listening to music and I don't feel anything. I can change the station, everybody is free to do what they want to do but I just know what kind of music I want to make and that won't change.
(CSC) 10. Moving forward, as you continue your journey as a solo artist, what are three goals that you would like to achieve within the next year and why?
I'm really excited about touring, headlining venues, being able to see my fan base and say thank you really. There have been people who have been following me for a long time, ten years I've been doing this. So, I'm very excited about that!
I might be excited to take some time next year, write a little bit and just see what all else I have to say because when you're touring, you don't really have time to write.
I think it is important to just be happy. There's no way of knowing how life's going to go, so just live in every moment and take it all in.In the meantime, check out her official website for news, tour dates and more: www.AshleyMonroe.com