On September 8th, Ashley Monroe released an EP called ‘The Covers,’ which features five cover songs arranged and recorded by Monroe and producer Tyler Cain. The EP includes “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Love Hurts,” “Every Breath You Take,” “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” and “More Than Words.” Each song was chosen by Monroe for being special to her, and they were recorded live and organically in the studio, clearly showcasing Monroe’s transcendent voice.
“I chose one song at a time,” Monroe told Sounds Like Nashville. “First one was ‘Don’t Worry Baby.’ It just felt like these songs could also help others feel things as well. In a way I was singing them for me and in a way I was singing them to the world.”
Many of the tracks simply feature Monroe’s voice, background vocals and quiet guitar instrumentation, adding to the ambiance of the project and revealing each song’s message.
“We just kind of went with our gut.. just let one decision guide the next,” said Monroe of the recording process with producer Tyler Cain. “We knew we wanted to keep it fairly stripped down, so you could really hear the song, but I also wanted to make sure it had the beautiful background vocal parts in them as well. I feel like we found the perfect balance.”
Monroe also included a couple of guests on the EP. Ruston Kelly joins her on a subdued version of Nazareth’s 1975 hit “Love Hurts” and Brittany Spencer adds her high-flying vocals to a graceful cover of Bryan Adams 1991 song, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”
“I love both of them as human beings and as artists,” Monroe says of Kelly and Spencer. “I also just love the way our voices sound together. There’s a certain ‘ache and soul’ in both of their voices that I think goes with my ‘ache and soul.’”
The release of the EP comes at a time when Monroe is battling a rare blood cancer called Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia. She announced her diagnosis with a social media post in July.
“A few months ago my dr. was doing some routine lab work and found that I was anemic,” wrote Monroe in the post. “I was like, FINE, I’ll just double up on cheeseburger patties, take some extra vitamins and call it a day. Well my red blood count just kept falling, and they found out my iron/b12/ folic acid numbers were actually fine. Short story long, they did a bone marrow biopsy, (ouch), and VOILA.. a rare kind of blood c word called ‘waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.’”
As of today, Monroe is undergoing chemotherapy and says she is doing well. She also says that she has learned some life lessons along the way.
“I’m doing pretty good,” she says. “Treatment days and a couple weeks after are not the easiest but so far my bounce back has been faster every time. I just finished cycle 3, and will have 4-6 total. It’s really teaching me to slow down and LIVE, one moment at a time. To soak up every single second and be thankful for it.”