Ronnie covered the title track to her 2015 third studio album The Blade, which was nominated for Best Country Album at the 58th Grammy Awards.
It’s a good old fashioned country heartbreaker, centered around the striking analogy that the relationship ultimately didn’t work out “’cause you caught it by the handle, baby, and I caught it by the blade.”
It’s the only outside write on Ashley’s record, and was penned by Marc Beeson, Jamie Floyd and Allen Shamblin. Ashley says that she wasn’t even looking for another song for the tracklist when her manager sent her “The Blade”:
“My manager sent me this email and he’s like, ‘I want you to hear this.’ I just, I couldn’t believe how good it was.
You know, it talked about heartbreak in a way I had never heard before, which is hard, because I’ve listened to a lot of heartbreak songs.
And I’ve written a lot of heartbreak songs, and I was going through something at the time that I could really relate to the receiving end of the knife, you know? And I was like, we’ve got to do this.”
Ashley’s friend and Pistol Annies bandmate Miranda Lambert also provided the background vocals on the song, and her manager suggested that the name would actually make a great title for the album:
“And then after we recorded it, and Miranda came and sang backgrounds on it, you can kinda hear the ache in her voice, too, ‘cuz she knew what I was going through.
We were kinda thinking of a title for the record, and you know, my managers like, what about ‘The Blade’?
This record does have edges, it has sharp edges in every song, one way or another, it kinda cuts me, anyways. And I was like, ‘I love that, I think it’s absolutely appropriate.'”
And funny enough, Ronnie had already heard the song prior to Ashley cutting it for her album, and was considering cutting it for himself before she got her hands on it:
“I’m so thankful I got that song in the nick of time. I ran into Ronnie Dunn at the superstar duets thing at the ACM in Dallas, and he was like, ‘Well, I heard you cut ‘The Blade.’
And I was like ‘Yes! I got it away from you, I hope.’ You know? ‘Cuz he woulda killed that song too, but I’m glad I got it. Sorry Ronnie.”
Though he also added that, ultimately, she was the right girl for that special song:
“But he said, ‘If anyone can sing it, you can.'”
And seven years later, Ronnie finally got to cut it too, and Ashley was 100% correct in saying that he would kill it.
Maybe one day these two can team up for a honky tonk, heartbreakin’ duet, but definitely make sure you check out Ronnie’s new rendition of the timeless song, because it’s one of my favorite’s on the new album:
But you simply can’t beat Ashley’s original, with her unique voice and stunning delivery of such a damn good country song: