It's been three years since Knoxville-born, Nashville-based country artist Ashley Monroe released her Grammy-nominated album "The Blade."
Her new countrypolitan record, "Sparrow," due out April 20, is worth the wait.
The project — Monroe's fourth studio album — finds her teaming up with red-hot producer Dave Cobb, who has produced acclaimed records by Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Brandi Carlile.
It was recorded at historic Studio A while Monroe was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband, former Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks, welcomed their son Dalton last August.
Monroe, whose sharp songwriting and plaintive vocals recall Dolly Parton, has been one of Nashville's most talented treasures for more than a decade. Her lengthy list of collaborators ranges from Jack White and Brendan Benson's rock band The Raconteurs to the Pistol Annies, the country trio she formed with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley.
On Friday, Monroe released "Hands on You," the album's sultry, string-laced lead single. "I felt a whole new confidence recording this one," Monroe wrote on her Facebook page.