Like a Rose

Ashley Monroe grabbed country fans by the ears with her hard-drawlin' vocals on Hell on Heels, by the Miranda Lambert-helmed trio Pistol Annies. The riveting, beautifully sung, sharp-witted Like a Rose is even better. It comes on traditionalist, with old-fashioned production, countrypolitan ballads and punchline-packed honky-tonkers. But beneath the period garb is a modern woman who advocates "weed instead of roses" to revive a moribund sex life and drops references to Fifty Shades of Grey. But Monroe is at her best in the sad songs – contemplating loneliness, and pennilessness, in "Two Weeks Late" and "The Morning After." Nine songs, 32 minutes, no false moves.