Ashley Cooke Takes A ‘Shot In The Dark’ With Vulnerable Debut Album

The new project is on track to becoming the longest debut album by a female Country artist to date.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

July 21, 2023


9:23 am

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Ashley Cooke; Photo Courtest of Robby Klein

Ashley Cooke first announced her debut albumShot In The Dark, from the Grand Ole Opry stage on June 20. Now, one month later, she’s finally getting to unleash the long-awaited project into the world. 

The collection takes listeners on a journey through the country singer’s personal growth and vulnerable chapters that she’s experienced over the years. From gut-wrenching heartbreak ballads to empowering spells of freedom to self-reflecting anthems, and everything in between, Ashley Cooke’s songs evoke a sense of relatability for fans.

“I think a lot of people really, really do relate to it. And I think a big part of that is because I do,” Cooke told Country Now. “Like, the songs, the lyrics, what I’m writing is so heartbreakingly true to what I’ve been through and I feel like I would want these songs in my life if I wasn’t the artist singing them. So it’s important to do put those on your project.”

Ashley Cooke; Shot in the Dark
Ashley Cooke; Shot in the Dark

Listeners are getting an up close and personal look into what feels like pages pulled directly from Cooke’s diary as she puts her emotions on display through raw deliveries of her signature country-pop sound. 

24-Track Album

Serving as a co-writer on 20 out of the 24 total tracks, Ashley Cooke has unintentionally created an album that’s on its way to becoming the longest debut album by a female Country artist to date.

“I just started kind of writing and I was planning on doing like a 12-song album, you know, a normal first debut album. And I was writing so many songs that I was falling in love with so much that felt so like me and just different experiences that I’ve been through and periods of my life.”

Cooke continued, “I came to my label, Big Loud, and I was like, ‘I don’t really want to take any of these songs off. I love all of these songs.’ And so they were like, ‘well then don’t, let’s release it.’ So I’m honored that I get to be a part of a company that lets me do that. Also, that people want to listen to 24 songs, so it’s really cool.”

Shot In The Dark includes a handful of previous releases such as “it’s been a year,” “your place,” “running back,” and “tastes like,” as well as new tracks including “moving on with grace,” “I almost do,” “good thing going,” and more.

In addition, Ashley Cooke tapped several fellow country stars to feature on the project through songs like “see you around” with Nate Smith, “mean girl” with Colbie Caillat, “what are you on fire about” with Jackson Dean, and her fan-favorite, “never til now” with Brett Young.  

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“Shot in the dark”

Fans also got a good look into the project through the title track, “Shot in the dark,” which serves as a reflection of her musical career thus far.

When Cooke imagined herself pursuing music full-time, she had a more traditional approach in mind, one that involved getting a publishing deal, writing her own songs, playing on Broadway and hopefully, hearing her tunes on country radio one day. However, her journey ended up taking a slightly different, and definitely unexpected path. 

“I graduated from college, and I decided to focus on music full-time in 2019, and then Covid happened and everything just kind of sparked social media and everything was just completely different than what I intended or what I expected my career to be,” Cooke explained. “So a lot of the choosing of that title was because of that. I was like, man, I just feel like not only my career, but just this time of life and I think just life is such a shot in the dark in so many ways, and we’re all just kind of taking chances and seeing what comes of it.”

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Now, she’s found herself in front of thousands of fans, letting her music speak for her ability to take risks and unapologetically chase her dreams, all while trying to navigate the often-confusing chapter that is being a twenty-something.   

The female songstress may shine with great confidence on the outside, but on the inside, she’s discovered that it’s not always easy putting her heart on display for so many people to hear. Despite any fears or reservations that come her way, she continues to share her truth through catchy tunes in hopes of helping someone who needs to hear her story. 

“It definitely gets tough, but I’ll always say it, the biggest gift and blessing that I have is that I get to have music as a release. I’ve been writing songs since I was a kid for that reason. When I went through anything hard or great or anything, I’d write a song about it, and now I get to share that experience with other people that I’ve also been going through it, and it helps me exponentially.”

First-Ever Headlining Tour

Ashley Cooke has several upcoming shows on the books that will serve in support of Luke Bryan’s Country On Tour. Then, beginning August 23, she will embark on her own Shot In The Dark Tour named after her new album.

Her first-ever headlining trek will launch in Panama City, FL, and continue with dates in cities such as New York, NY, San Diego, CA, Chicago, IL, and more before wrapping things up on November 10 in Rome, GA. 

“I feel like I’ve opened up for other people the last couple years, which has been the most fun time just getting to learn from them and, you know, kind of just be in their crowds, but I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun to get to hang out with people that are coming to see me and know the music.”

Since several of the shows booked for her headlining run have already sold out, Cooke teased that another leg could be in the works. 

For a full list of Ashley Cooke’s upcoming shows, visit the country star’s official website

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.