Ashley Monroe is released a 5-track EP this past week called Covers, which is exactly what it sounds like— a collection of five covers of some of her favorite songs.
She’s currently fighting a rare form of blood cancer, so she wanted to include tracks that make her feel something and give her hope:
“They have a feeling… I have two playlists that are called ‘That Feeling.’
And I don’t know if it’s a change of chords, if it’s the words, I don’t know, but it’s a certain feeling.”
Included on the tracklist is the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby,” the Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, Extreme’s “More Than Words”, Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do” with Brittney Spencer and Boudleaux Bryant’s (popularized by Nazareth) “Love Hurts” with Ruston Kelly.
The idea came when Ashley and her longtime friend and producer, Tyler Cain, just wanted to record some of their favorite music and figured it could probably bring a little joy to other people, too.
They originally started the project before Ashley was diagnosed with cancer. At the time they began putting it all together, she just thought she was severely anemic. Eventually, she learned that her health diagnosis was much more serious towards the end of the recording process.
Of course, that type of life changing news will give you an entirely new outlook on just about everything, as she told People:
“I hear all the lyrics differently now. All the emotion in these songs just hit harder now. I remember on one of the days we recorded, I came in and had just gotten off the phone with my doctor telling me I was still severely anemic.
I remember thinking that day, ‘I should never have taken my health for granted.’ Little did I know the news that was coming.
Sometimes on days when the chemo has me in bed all day, I listen to these covers and feel so much joy.”
She had previously released a video on Instagram of her recording “Everything I Do” with Brittney Spencer.
She also features fellow country artist Ruston Kelly on “Love Hurts.” The song was originally recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960, but became an international hit in 1975 when Nazareth sent it to #1 on countless charts across the globe (only #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, though).
She told Rolling Stone she recently rekindled a friendship with Ruston and wanted him to sing with her on this project.
She admits they both like the version of the song done by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons back in 1974 as part of Gram’s Grievous Angel album, but the inspiration came more from Nazareth’s version.
But, like she says, you really can’t go wrong with any version of it:
“I always liked the Nazereth version too. I like every version of that song. He and I are buddies too and we write well together. He feels like somebody I’ve known my whole life.
He really loved my ‘Rosegold’ project — he was texting a lot during that time, and I was like, ‘Hey, me and Tyler have been doing this for fun, why don’t you come over and sing one with me?’ Because I do like the way our voices sound together a lot.”
All five songs on the EP are excellent, but that’s really not a surprise considering that Ashley has one of the best, most strikingly unique voices in all of country music.
Check her out singing with Ruston here:
She posted a little bit about what all the songs mean to her on release day, noting that these are some of the few that never get old to her:
“I am so happy we are releasing these covers today I recorded with @thisistylercain (with some help from Ruston Kelly and Brittney Spencer).
These songs all live in a deep part of my heart and still feel fresh to me after years and years of singing them. I hope they touch your heart the way they touch mine.”