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        Alternative country songstress Ashley Monroe, best known as one third of the Pistol Annies alongside her “sister” Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley, took the stage at Nashville's 3rd and Lindsley on Thursday, June 5 to play songs from her critically acclaimed Like a Rose for an adoring hometown audience.

        Monroe is one of those country singers that doesn't get much airplay not because she doesn't have a pretty face, but because she refuses to censor herself in her songwriting; and she considers herself first and foremost a songwriter. Choosing the cheeky “Weed Instead of Roses”as the single from Like a Rose definitely wasn't the way to gain the most airplay on conservative country radio and making a video that's a total throwback to a 1960's television performance wasn't the best way to court CMT either, but Monroe does things her own way and her fans adore her for it.

“I don't know why that didn't get put on the radio,”she said after playing the song, which she dedicated to her grandparents who happened to be in attendance. But her fans knew all the words.

        Monroe is part of a key group of women in the country music industry working to change what women in the genre are allowed to say through writing whip-smart songs that have gained her and her contemporaries critical adoration. If it weren't for the Pistol Annies joking about popping pills, it's hard to imagine how newcomer Kacey Musgraves could have gotten away with most of the material on her Grammy-winning debut, Same Trailer, Different Park, which sounds like the title of a Kid Rock album but is full of well-crafted songs and smart lyrics exploring what causes people to get stuck in their small hometowns when they'd rather be anywhere else.  



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