Country artist Ashley Monroe's album Sparrow came on the heels of an intense process of self-reflection and grappling with past trauma. For Monroe, however, songwriting has always been an outlet for emotional reconciliation, and many of the songs on the album were written as a way of dealing with her anxieties. 

One example is "Hard on a Heart," a song that discusses one of the physical manifestations of Monroe's anxiety. Read on to learn more about how the song came to be, and how producer Dave Cobb's input initially made Monroe nervous, but ultimately added some key elements to the track.

My heart beats too fast. It has ever since -- I guess since Daddy died and all that. I went to the doctor, and they did chest X-rays and all these tests, and they were like, "Your heart's healthy. I don't know why this is happening, but maybe it's anxiety."

So later, when I was in my "therapy-thon," they were saying, "Maybe you should address your heart. Talk to it. Ask it, 'What's wrong? When did you start changing on me?'" So, when I got back, I wrote that song, and I wrote it really slow -- really slow. But every time I sing that song, my heart, like, triples in speed. I feel it; it's a lot of emotion!

So, when we went in to record it, Dave Cobb was like, "Let's speed it up!" And I was like, "Oh, no! Oh, God, no! Let's keep it slow!" It actually really grew on me, the way we recorded it, because it does have a heartbeat groove to it, and it sounds more like what my heart sounds like: faster.

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