Ashley Monroe’s new album, “Sparrow,” takes us on a journey of self-awareness and good music. She opens the album with “Orphan,” a very strong, yet refined and nuanced song. The lyrics are very vivid. It deeply depicts the tradition of the Great American Songbook. It has the imagery of sparrows and the epitome of loneliness — being an orphan.
In the first place, “Orphan” sets the tone for the ride that we’re going to expect for the whole album. It’s got this refined feel to it, yet it uniquely knows when to pull back and just let the emotions flow through the lyrics. The words to the song are not only poetic and lyrical but also so raw and honest that you can’t help but feel that Monroe is singing directly about the plight of human existence.
Listen to the fabulous track here!
Sparrow is the fourth studio album by Monroe. It was released on April 20, 2018. It received widespread acclaim from music critics, indicating “universal acclaim.” Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic claims it as a “sharply constructed as an album, setting a mood with its first song and then finding variations on this lush, enveloping sound.”
Some of the country music purists would say that this isn’t the usual county music. But, there is a principle that everything evolves a certain way. And at worst, country music can be done in a weird caricature of itself — conjuring up idea masculine notions and worn-out tropes without giving it the heart and soul of what country really is. Or, this could be in its best like Monroe’s “Orphan,” where there are subtle nuances to how the music arrangement progresses without losing that Louisiana bayou-esque influences and strong country roots. Its heart is her honesty in the plight of human existence. Her strong adherence to country music’s ability to produce striking imagery with grace and strength.
Ashley Monroe, country music, Orphan, Sparrow