Country singer Ashley Monroe has announced that her forthcoming album, Sparrow, will be released April 20. Sparrow marks as the fourth solo album from the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. For the album, she enlisted revered producer Dave Cobb and recorded the 12 tracks of Sparrow at RCA Studio A.
Monroe has also shared the album’s first single, “Hands On You,” a sultry and delicate soulful ballad co-written with Jon Randall. She narrates “Hands On You” as a lonesome and regretful lover who’s daydreaming about what she should have done. There’s a soothing buzz underneath Monroe’s smokey vocals that snakes their way through the room like a slow burning cigarette.
For most of the album, Monroe cites the lush and warm arrangements of ’70s country stars such as Glen Campbell and the Western-themed country-rock albums of early Elton John as the sonic inspirations for the album. There’s a gentle and grand orchestral touch on Sparrow that was spurred on by Monroe and Cobb’s shared love of Campbell, John and the albums of Muscle Shoals legend, Rick Hall.
Throughout Sparrow, they combine sweeping string arrangements that soar and glide with Monroe’s intimate storytelling and calming vocals. Throughout, Monroe and Cobb cherrypick their favorite sounds and styles for an album that touches on smooth R&B, ’70s soft rock vibes, cool pop sensibilities and a rush of heartfelt and vulnerable country storytelling. It’s sensitive, yet bold.
Ashley Monroe says she was recalling traumatic events from her childhood, specifically the death of her father while she was a teenager, began to shape the theme of Sparrow. “I was unpacking a lot of stuff,” she explains in a press release. “I was singing, and identifying what it’s like to be left. No one told me what I should do, back then, when the world started to crumble.”
“To me, this record is about acknowledging past hurt, forgiveness and freedom to move forward,” Monroe adds.