How are you i’m i’m great? I, like you here, it’s a little different you’re, probably the first person that’s used a puppet before i was that’s. What i was wondering has anybody ever like jumped onto an interview with a puppet before because yeah i’m sure how many interviews do you have to do? A week you don’t want this kind of thing to get old. So, first of all, i love that. Second of all, where does the puppet come from? I mean how does the idea spark there you go, why? Why do you have why the puppet right, um? We were on tour and i don’t remember why, but it was one late night i just got on amazon and ordered a purple puppet and it stays on the bus now it’s just a thing and who, who do you have next to you there uh? This is my dog opie and he has been laying here for over an hour doing nothing. I just got a puppy recently, so i’m doing a dog game. We we got an irish doodle, which is a a poodle and an irish setter mixed together. Oh, my goodness, so it’s been a lot of fun. It’S been a good time. So why don’t we talk a little cmt music awards. You’Ve had an awesome career and this is a really cool event, so what’s the dopest part of being able to host this year. I think being able to host is one of the coolest things.

That’S happened to me so far in my career and and even though it’s been a really weird year, a lot of really cool things have happened this year, which they wouldn’t have been possible. You know without us being off the road i got to play: loretta lynn’s, guitar uh, the other day, which was really cool and and now i get to host the cmt awards with sarah hyland and king brown and sarah and i wouldn’t have become friends if this Hadn’T happened so um i’m, just really excited about it and cmt has put a lot of thought into like we all know that some of it has to be pre taped, but there still is a live aspect to it and they put a lot of thought and Care into making us feel normal and because you know, none of us are gon na be around each other, but we still need to be able to interact and um, and i think everybody watching at home will feel like this is, and you know, it’s an award Show it’s how it should be done. Um and they’ve they’ve just gone to such great lengths to make us feel that way. So ashley 2020 has been a really crazy year. Copen19 the conversations of racial injustice to me. Music feels more important because it gives us an escape, gives us something else to think about what have you been listening to and how important is music to you, especially in this year, yeah we’re, going to look back on every record that came out in 2020 and It’S gon na be the soundtrack for how we dealt with the pandemic, and some of that will make us um happy and think back about.

Oh what a great day that was, the record came out. Um and some of us will will look at it and be like. Ah, i can’t listen to that song. It makes me think of that time in 2020.. Um but you’re right, music does give us an escape, and i got to do something um during quarantine that i haven’t gotten to do in a long time, because when you’re on tour, you don’t get to do it. This way you only get like singles and little bites of music, so i would pick a record. I would pick a wine and i would pick a meal, and i would while cooking would just listen to that record top to bottom, which is how a record is supposed to be listened to, and we forget how much thought goes into track. One the middle track and that last track so um, even though it’s been a really nutty roller coaster. Here i’m thankful that i was able to remember how we’re supposed to listen to music. I know that sam hunt and kelsey ballerini are a few of your favorites. You mentioned you’re cooking you’re, putting wine with them, so what kind of meal and wine goes with each of those artists. Why don’t you give me a couple examples of what you cooked up really interesting um, because i listened to the brandy clark record and i was doing a lot of grilling at the time, and i mean you never think like brats, when you think this is what I’M, going to listen to a kelsey ballerini record all the way through, and i have no idea what’s going to be on it or what that’s going to sound like so i’ll, be like i don’t know, let’s make a chicken dish, uh and then, like i don’t Know, sam hun, what are we going to do pulled pork? I have no idea let’s.

Just a lot of steaks happened. A lot of jalapeno peppers uh happened in my kitchen this year. You kept it interesting. I like to hear that, and i feel like your career has been really interesting to this point. So how did you define your sound? I feel like first people kind of go and pretend to be like other people. They’Re doing you know their best impersonation and then they find their own sound. How was that journey for you yeah when people would ask like they asked my brother? Well, what does she sound like and he’s? Like i don’t know, she just sounds like ashley um. I was, i grew up in the bluegrass realm and i’ve always been a huge fan of bluegrass and and what we now call classic country um just country to me back then, and but there was always this other thing and i’d be at bluegrass jam’s plan. And i thought my i listened to a lot of allison krauss and i’d, be singing an allison crafts song and think my voice is too far forward with this song. I feel like i’m doing it wrong and i wasn’t doing it wrong. I just didn’t know what that thing was until i realized that janice joplin had a thing and it’s sort of like that, but it’s not like that. Trisha yearwood has a thing she can do, but it’s not like that. But i have this other thing that my voice sounds like and i started leaning into it and when i moved to memphis tennessee, it made perfect sense: it’s, the birthplace of rock and roll it’s, the home of the blues, and suddenly i felt like i was in The right place to make music that’s really awesome.

What do you think makes a great country song today? Story is super important, but what do you think is most important when it comes to a gym? For me, a great country song makes me um it’s, like a gut punch, but either because the story is so good or because the message is so good. My favorite kind of country song is one that makes me angry because i didn’t write it. When i heard um hold my hand by brandy clark for the first time, i was like can’t believe how have i never thought of that um, but you’re right story and and not necessarily what we would say like outlaws or defiance or anything like that. Just a good story, and and most of the time those stories come with a good message: there’s no greater example of that than um miss dolly parton. Who can write in the story and draw you in within. You know just just a couple of lines: at the top of the song: have you gotten to cross paths with dahlia a couple of times and she hosted the uh the awards show. Last year she hosted the cmas and i walked right past her in reba and i just walked kind of as fast as i could because i’m one of those people that, if i’m nervous whatever’s going to fall out of my mouth, is going to fall out of My mouth uh, and so i might accidentally bark i might just make like a ver sound and that would be you know.

Then i would have to change my name and move to a different country. So i tried to uh cross paths, just let her juju fall near me, but i didn’t want to approach the queen. Well, something tells me she’ll be watching this year when you’re hosting and it should be a great time – ashley really nice – to meet.