Ashley Monroe Embracing New Sensuality That’s Come With Motherhood
One year after giving birth Ashley Monroe released a music video for "Wild Love," a song that finds her yearning for a stranger that will pull her hair and call her name. It's an atypical mom song, at least if you believe how the first weeks and months of motherhood are represented in mainstream media.
At first, Monroe says, she hid. But a few months after giving birth to Dalton — her first child with husband John Danks — she started to reclaim her physical and mental space. "Probably when I stopped breastfeeding and starting smoking my vape pen again I got inspired,” she says laughing.
"I just kind of woke up and thought 'Man I got some work to do and I've got a fire burning inside of me," Monroe remembers. "I kind of said to myself ... you better act on this fire that you feel, so that's kind of what I'm doing now."
The result is new confidence, new purpose and new joy. Talking to Taste of Country, she expanded on what she meant when she told Peter Cooper in an interview that she'd been writing more "fire love songs" recently.
"It’s not (singing) ‘La, la la, life is grand,'" she says. "All these songs are coming out that I’ve never written anything like it before—but I’ve never felt anything like it before either, so it makes sense.”
"Under my skin / A fire has risen / The dangerous kind / Wild love," Monroe sings leading into the first chorus of "Wild Love," the second spotlight single from her new Sparrow album after the equaling burning "Hands on You." Both rely on a more mature understanding of physical romance and allure.
In her new music video, the 32-year-old is the lone actor in a backlit forest. Wearing a sheer satin sundress, she walks barefoot over loose earth and lounges languidly across a yellow armchair as she sings:
"I need a stranger to pull my hair and call my name / Take me home and make me feel alive again / 'Round and 'round, oh help me God / It's coursin' through my veins / I don't wanna deny myself / Pull my hair and call my name."
“I think it’s fun to sometimes let your heart go wild and just feel that way," Monroe says. "Don’t act on it," she adds, laughing.
Much of Sparrow was written while she and Danks were trying to conceive, a coincidence she only realized later. The album was recorded while she was pregnant—and sure, she felt big and bloated and not her best self at times.
“But there’s also a magic in it of like, 'man, my body’s tough,'" she says. "I can’t believe my body is doing this right now.”
The irony here is that someone is pulling her hair and calling her name: her baby son Dalton. That's not what Monroe had in mind with her songwriting, but she is loving that undefinable mother-son connection. "It really is kind of wacky," she says. "I’ll get a feeling and I’ll know that’s what he’s feeling. Like sometimes I’ll know that’s what he wants to listen to. I’ll know that he wants all the TVs off and he just wants to sit. And I’m right.”
Currently Monroe has no tour dates on her calendar, but by all accounts she's gearing up to reveal new music from the Pistol Annies, her side project with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley. "I had to get my lashes re-done, because I was sobbing so much, because I'm so amazed at this record," Monroe says. However, she declined to offer any more specifics about the group's third studio album.
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