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Train (Feat. Ashley Monroe), ‘Bruises’ – Song Review

Bruises
Columbia Records

Train‘s collaboration with Pistol Annie Ashley Monroe feels random, but the marriage of two very different vocal styles makes ‘Bruises’ a captivating listen. The forever sympathetic Monroe was a perfect choice for this class reunion-type song. While it might not be the official reason her solo album was pushed back to 2013, it’s certainly a good reason.

Phil Vassar‘s ‘Carlene’ and Jo Dee Messina‘s ‘I’m Alright’ are two hits one can favorably compare this story to. While not an original conversation, it’s far from cliche. Monahan and company’s lyrics are every bit as sharp as those well-written songs, and the dialogue between him and Monroe feels genuine and natural, like the slightly guarded conversation one would have in this situation.

Haven’t seen you since high school / Good to see you’re still beautiful / Gravity hasn’t started to pull quite yet / I bet you’re rich as hell,” Monahan sings before Monroe answers with, ”One that’s five and one that’s three / Been two years since he left me / Good to know that you got free / That town I know is keepin’ you down on your knees.

While neither producer of this song has a strong country resume, the arrangement is loose and organic — but not short on focus. It’s often a difficult thing to capture the “Nashville sound” so important in creating a country hit. Many, many have underestimated the job. Monahan’s voice falls more into the adult contemporary category, but he’s surrounded himself with the right parts to give this song the shot it deserves on country radio.

These bruises make for better conversation / Loses the vibe that separates / It’s good to let you in again / You’re not alone in how you’ve been / Everybody loses / We all got bruises,” they sing during the chorus.

The message in that chorus — combined with strengths of production and concise storytelling — give ‘Bruises’ a shot to be a hit. It remains to be seen if Monroe is capable of carrying an entire album on her own (‘Like a Rose‘ leaves one optimistic about that prospect), but she’s certainly proving to be a valuable support character.

4.5 Stars

Listen to Train (Feat. Ashley Monroe), ‘Bruises’

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Next: See a List of the 10 Best Country Duets

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