Singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe recently stopped by The Bobby Bones Show to promote her latest album, and during her appearance she pulled out her guitar to strum out an acoustic rendition of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." After sweetly singing the chorus, host and personality Bobby Bones joined Monroe, adding a bit of autotune to the throwback track. Presley, often called the King of Rock 'n Roll, died 36 years ago Friday (Aug. 16), and his legacy has lived on well past his demise, often influencing many current country superstars.
Monroe, who released her sophomore album earlier this year, also performed her autobiographical song "Like a Rose" on the broadcast. "I was only 13 when daddy died," she sings on the first verse. "Mama started drinking and my brother just quit trying. I'm still bouncing back, heaven only knows how I came out like a rose."
This fall, Monroe joins newcomer and platinum recording artist Hunter Hayes on his first headlining tour, which includes several sold-out dates at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. As the first location of the Grand Ole Opry (originally called the WSM Barn Dance), many of country music's greats -- ranging from Johnny Cash to Loretta Lynn -- got their start on that very same stage.
On Sept. 18-23, Monroe is slated to perform at this year's Americana Music Festival, alongside such artists as The Lone Bellow, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and Lisa Maria Presley. Jed Hilly, Executive Director for the Americana Music Association, praises this year's event, “Americana is contemporary music that honors and/or derives from American roots traditions."
Since becoming director, Hilly has seen the event's attendance grow exponentially from 5,000 in 2006 to 18,000 goers last year. He adds, “When it started, it came from a reaction from the alt-country community. I think that may be part of why it has become cloudy over the years. People have an association that it’s Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, or k.d. Lang, or Wilco. It’s not the mainstream sound."
“In the past two decades, the music industry has done a terrific and terrible job of putting things in boxes. There’s 142 vertical lines that represent formats. I grew up listening to music and might have heard Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, the Preservation Hall, and the Rolling Stones. My musical tastes and appreciation weren’t defined by what I was almost force-fed through radio.”
“I think Americana is a beautiful genre,” Hilly says, “which instead of having these arbitrary vertical lines is salvation for the music industry. It’s a definition based on the sound of the music, not based on what a radio format manager thinks belongs on his radio station. When I hear Lucinda Williams, I hear her Louisiana Cajun influence, her rock and roll influence, her Hank Williams influence. When I hear Buddy Miller, you can tell he is clearly inspired by Hank Williams, as well as Gospel, and Les Paul and the electric guitar. The boundary goes around American roots traditions. If you can’t taste the dirt through your ears, it’s probably not Americana.” [Quotes via Billboard]
Check out Monroe and Bones' "Love Me Tender" duet above.