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Cigarettes & Pizza w/ Aaron Raitiere, Ashley Monroe

September 24, 20245:30 PM

Tickets on sale Wed, June 19 at noon for Premium Church Choir Members and Fri, June 21 at noon for the general public.

Join award-winning songwriters and performers Aaron Raitiere and Ashley Monroe for an evening of Cigarettes & Pizza.

Doors – 5:30 pm
Show – 7:00 pm

Aaron Raitiere and Ashely Monroe

About Aaron

Aaron Raitiere is a lyricist, performer, and visual artist from Central Kentucky. He is highly sought after in the Nashville songwriting community for his unique ability to coax coherent and focused creative output from his co-writers.

Raitiere is a Grammy winner for his song “I’ll Never Love Again” performed by Lady Gaga in the movie “A Star Is Born.” He has also successfully collaborated with artists such as Anderson East, The Oak Ridge Boys, Robert Randolph, Whiskey Myers, Montgomery Gentry, Miranda Lambert, Brent Cobb, Ashley Monroe, Randy Rogers, Ashley McBryde, Lori McKenna, Shooter Jennings, Natalie Hemby, Ed Sheeran, Avicii, and many others.

Currently a staff writer for Warner Chappell Music and Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound, Raitiere graduated from Cornell University with a BA in American Studies and subsequently received an MFA in Recording Arts from MTSU. Paintings done by Aaron are currently hanging in businesses and homes all over the country.

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About Ashley

Working as both a solo artist and as a member of Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe illustrated how fluid and flexible contemporary country could be in the 2010s and 2020s. Before Pistol Annies, a group Miranda Lambert instigated in 2011, Monroe had worked behind the scenes in Nashville, toiling away at a debut that didn’t get a fair shot and writing songs, including several on Lambert’s 2009 album Revolution. After the Annies came bursting out of the gates with Hell on Heels in 2011, Monroe got the chance to run free on her own, an opportunity she seized with 2013’s Like a Rose, a record that played upon traditional country songs. As the decade progressed, Monroe became more adventurous, alternating 2018’s warm, sumptuous Sparrow with 2021’s Rosegold, an electronic pop album she produced herself.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Monroe was raised in a family with a great love for country music — she’s kin to Carl Smith and members of the Carter Family on her father’s side — and she developed a passion for music at an early age, taking her first piano lessons when she was only seven. At age 11, Monroe won a talent contest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood), singing Patsy Montana’s Western classic “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”; she brought home a $100 prize and was soon a regular performer at a theater in Pigeon Forge. However, Monroe’s world was turned upside down when her father died in early 2000, and the 13-year-old wrote songs to help her deal with the tragedy.

A few years later, Monroe began making trips to Nashville to perform her music in clubs along the fabled Lower Broadway district, and before long she pulled up stakes and moved to Music City. While her youth led to a certain degree of resistance from record labels and publishing houses in Nashville, her music impressed manager Clarence Spalding, who signed her as a client and began shopping her talents around town. While an initial major-label development deal went sour, Monroe’s music found an appreciative ear at Columbia Records in 2006, and she teamed up with producer Mark Wright (whose clients include Clint Black, Gretchen Wilson, and Los Lonely Boys) to record her first album. An advance single from the album, “Satisfied,” didn’t perform well on country radio, nor did a second single. Monroe’s album — also called Satisfied — appeared briefly as a digital release to little attention and all plans for a physical release were scrapped.

All the problems with Satisfied led to Monroe and Columbia separating in 2007. Over the next few years, Monroe worked behind the scenes as both a songwriter and singer, having tunes appear on albums by Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert while often singing sessions at Jack White’s Third Man Records. Lambert turned out to be a pivotal connection for Monroe. The two became friends and, along with Angaleena Presley, formed Pistol Annies, whose 2011 eponymous debut became a significant hit. The success of Pistol Annies revived Monroe’s solo career. She signed with Warner, teamed up with producer Vince Gill, and released the album Like a Rose in March of 2013. The single “Weed Instead of Roses” brushed the country Top 40. Monroe also featured prominently on Pistol Annies’ second album, Annie Up, released in May 2013; she had a hand in writing ten of the 12 songs.

Monroe kept the hits coming when her duet with Blake Shelton on Shelton’s “Lonely Tonight” hit number two the following year. Her third album, The Blade, arrived in July 2015, with Vince Gill returning to produce; the album debuted at number two on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. Monroe worked with producer Dave Cobb for her 2018 album, Sparrow, which appeared in April 2018. Pistol Annies reunited for their third album, Interstate Gospel, in 2018; it topped Billboard’s Country charts upon its November release. Monroe returned to her solo career in 2021 with the electronic-glazed Rosegold, her first independent album, which was distributed through Thirty Tigers.

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