“If losing’s a game, I’m on a winning streak,” Ashley Monroe sings in the toe-tapping tune, “Winning Streak,” from her highly-praised new album, The Blade. It’s a throwback number that could’ve easily been recorded by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis or Wanda Jackson decades before Monroe was born. But it was actually gospel music that provided inspiration for the track, thanks to Vince Gill — a co-producer of both The Blade and its predecessor, Like a Rose.
“One of the things Vince does when he produces is find a reference. For one of the songs on Like a Rose, he played [Emmylou Harris’] ‘Boulder to Birmingham to get us all in a particular zone,” Monroe tells Rolling Stone Country. For ‘Winning Streak,’ he played an old gospel quartet from the Forties. The song reminds me of Elvis, too. I get into it because I love rockabilly!”
A rare musical dichotomy (at least in country music), “Winning Streak” has an uptempo beat with downer lyrics. Monroe admits that faster-paced songs with positive messages don’t come naturally to her. If she’s going uptempo, it’s with tears in her beer.
“Roger Miller’s ‘Dang Me’ had that, and I love that,” she says. “He’s singing, ‘They ought to take a rope and hang me’ to a fast beat.”
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Just days after releasing The Blade, Monroe performed “Winning Streak” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She also has a Conan appearance set for August 26th and will follow her media tour with shows across the country. In addition to opening for Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on select dates, the Tennessee native will headline her own fall tour, with its nine-city run beginning October 1st in Macon, Georgia.