Tag Archives: Ashley Mcbryde

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Ashley McBryde

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing it in the country music scene.

This week we’re featuring Ashley McBryde, a tattoo-loving, curly haired, thirty-five-year-old singer and guitarist. She grew up on a cattle farm in rural Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. There was never a dull moment in her home as she was the youngest of six children. McBryde told People Magazine: “Sometimes I wonder if the reason I play guitar is because that’s what there was to do. My dad had a guitar, and there was a mandolin, and my brother had a trumpet and I learned how to play that too. It was cool to grow up in the middle of nowhere. I loved growing up on a farm. Hard, hard work from the time you’re little bitty, it’s so good for your soul and bones.” All farm chores aside, McBryde perfected her guitar playing and wrote her first song at the young age of seventeen.

She attended Arkansas State University where she was an active member of the marching band. Dreaming of becoming a successful country music singer, McBryde made her way to Nashville in 2007. With her newly formed band, she grinded it out in Music City, playing at any bar or restaurant that she possibly could. She went on to compete in Colgate Country Showdown, the largest talent competition to find country music singers from all across the USA. More than 100,000 contestants participate in this contest every year. She won the competition in both 2009 and 2010.  In March 2016, she released her first EP, ‘Jalopies & Expensive Guitars.’ This eight-song record is where it all started for McBryde. It was around this time that Eric Church discovered Ashley McBryde and her tremendous talent. In Church’s own words, McBryde is “a whiskey-drinkin’ badass.” What an honor it must have been when Eric Church invited her on-stage at his show and together, they sang her song ‘Bible and a .44.’ She made her Grand Ole Opry debut in June 2017. And in March of 2018, McBryde released her second album, ‘Girl Going Nowhere,’ produced by Jay Joyce. When thinking about this album we can’t help but start singing ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,’ her most recent single released by Warner Bros. Records Nashville. Who doesn’t want to be “making the best of a worst day kind of night.”

As you might have guessed, ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ got its name from one of McBryde’s own life experience. Her high school algebra teacher asked each student what they were going to be when they grew up. Ashley McBryde responded: “I’m going to move to Nashville and write songs, and they’re going to be on the radio.” The teacher replied: “That won’t happen. You’d better have a good backup plan.” So never doubt yourself and if you have a goal or a dream – Be like Ashley McBryde and go for it.

Consider yourself lucky if you had the opportunity to see Ashley McBryde’s performance at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA back in December. She will be coming through the area again this summer as she stops in Gilford, NH with Little Big Town on July 5th.

Be sure to download ‘Girl Going Nowhere,’ the title track off her latest album, on iTunes here.

Or check out another one of our favorites, ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Ashley McBryde by following her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, March 13th.

Ashley McBryde: ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ Album Review

On March 30th, Ashley McBryde released her debut studio album to patiently awaiting fans. The eleven-song collection, produced by Jay Joyce, is filled with stories of personal struggles, scandalous love, and her rural Arkansas upbringing. Growing up on a cattle farm in Mammoth Spring, where the population is a mere 963, McBryde learned at a young age that she didn’t want the idyllic farm life and decided to pursue a career in singing. She went on to graduate from Arkansas State University with a degree in music. Eventually she made the move to Nashville and has been working here since 2006. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, “McBryde is emerging as one of the most exciting new voices in country music, a whiskey-swilling high priestess of dive bars whose radically lyrics-driven, rock-leaning approach to mainstream country commands instant attention.” A true testament to her talent, McBryde cowrote every song on this album. Jon Caramanica from The New York Times reported: “this is the most varied, warm and effortlessly confident country music albums of the past few years.” Check out ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ and I’m sure you’ll agree!

1.) ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ – Written by Ashley McBryde and Jeremy Bussey.
Impression: The album begins with a touching song about Ashley McBride’s journey to become a successful country singer. The title track is about perseverance and never giving up. It opens with a relaxing melody of guitar strumming. McBride describes the struggle of being always told ‘no,’ ‘you’re just wasting your time.’ She describes in this tune: It took a whole lot of yes I wills and I don’t care. A whole lot of basement dives and county fairs.
BU And then the lights come up. And I hear the band. And where they said I’d never be is exactly where I am…

2.) ‘Radioland’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Autumn McEntire, and Chris Roberts.
Impression: This is a pop-sounding song that McBryde makes country with her sweet southern accent. It’s written about a simpler day and age when the radio was the center of people’s lives; providing the news, sports updates, and top forty countdown.
Favorite Lyrics: I was 5 years old. With a hairbrush microphone. Growing up in Radioland.

3.) ‘American Scandal’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Randall Clay, Terri Jo Box.
Impression: ‘American Scandal’ is a passionate song that will soon have you singing along. With the chorus repeating multiple times, it is perhaps the catchiest tune on the album. It mentions the scandalous love of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Favorite Lyrics: Hold me baby, hold me like you ain’t mine to hold. Oh kiss me baby, kiss me, like you don’t care who knows…

4.) ‘Southern Babylon’ – Written by Ashley McBryde and Tommy Collier.
Impression: ‘Southern Babylon’ has a slow rhythm and sounds a bit mysterious. This song is so story-like that one can almost picture the song playing out as McBryde sings each line. It is written about a woman that was on her way to a gig in Alabama and her car broke down in Southern Babylon. She wanders into a bar and ends up playing a few tunes with the band.
Favorite Lyrics: Hey girl, where you been? Doncha know I been waitin’ for ya? You got a band up there just dyin’ to play a little ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia…

5.) ‘The Jacket’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Olivia Rudeen, and Neal Cotty.
Impression: The rocking sounds of drums and cymbals draw you in to the ‘The Jacket.’ With a snappy melody and sentimental lyrics, this tune is a definitely a good one. Although it is the shortest track on the album, it is perhaps the most meaningful. McBryde sings about the journey of a special jean jacket that her daddy gave to her. It holds years of memories like nights by the bonfire, a hitchhike to Boulder, and a trip to the county jail.
Favorite Lyrics: It ain’t much to look at, but he let me have it. So I could feel his arms around me in that old jean jacket…

6.) ‘Livin’ Next To Leroy’ – Written by Ashley McBryde and Nicolette Hayford.
Impression: The lyrics are dark and deep, though the mood seems to be positive. McBryde surely took a chance with this one. It’s never easy putting yourself out there and tackling such a controversial topic. McBryde told Rolling Stone Magazine, “Where I’m from, there are two things to do after a certain age: make babies or make meth.” This song vividly depicts the drug issues that are prevalent in backwoods America. In the song, Leroy is an addict that opens the doors to his home for younger addicts. The song makes mention of the kids in town taking pills and doing shots to fit in at school. At the end, Leroy dies, possibly of a drug overdose.
Favorite Lyrics: On the dark side of the country it ain’t bonfires, it ain’t beer…

7.) ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, and Jesse Rice.
Impression: This is the first single to be released from ‘Girl Going Nowere.’ It is a light-hearted, relatable, classic country song that you’ll want to listen to on repeat. It’s about making the best out of a bad situation. The song was penned after the trio of writers were discussing their terribly bad days. McBryde told Southern Living: “I had a bad morning and a rough night the day before we wrote that song. And I got in the truck, and by the time I got to work, I broke my windshield, I got sick, and I broke a guitar string right away.”
Favorite Lyrics: Nothing’s going right. Makin’ the best of the worst day kinda night…

8.) ‘Andy (I Cant Live Without You)’ – Written by Ashley McBryde.
Impression: This is the only song on the album that was written exclusively by McBryde. She told WUWM 89.7 Milwaukee’s NPR: “I wrote it in the kitchen because I was mad at band guitarist (and roommate) Andrew Sovine.” It is a thoughtful ballad depicting all the reasons that McBryde can’t live without Sovine.
Favorite Lyrics: You’ve got my back. Even when I’m wrong. You’re the only one who knows. Me and my heart can’t get along…

9.) ‘El Dorado’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Randall Clay, and Patrick Savage.
Impression: With a toe-tapping beat and punchy guitar riffs, ‘El Dorado’ is perhaps the most catchy tune on ‘Girl Going Nowhere.’ It is a combination of country and pop that many of us will enjoy singing along to this summer with the windows rolled down.
Favorite Lyrics: That silver linin’, oh no it ain’t hidin’ on no map. I gotta find it, I’ll pull it down and bring it back…

10.) ‘Tired of Being Happy’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, Randall Clay, and Blue Foley.
Impression: This track has a twangy, country vibe. McBryde sings about seeing an old flame and she lets him know that If you ever get tired of bein’ happy. Oh, I won’t be hard to find at all.
Favorite Lyrics: Baby you know you always had me. And if you ever get tired of bein’ happy, give me a call…

11.) ‘Home Sweet Highway’ – Written by Ashley McBryde, CJ Field, and Blue Foley
Impression: The last song on ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ showcases McBryde’s distinct talent. With expressive lyrics and pronounced electric guitar chords, ‘Home Sweet Highway’ is a memorable last song. It concludes with a soulful, gospel feel with the addition of background vocalists.
Favorite Lyrics: Oh I’ve tried and I’ve tried leavin’ you alone. But I keep on comin’ back, ’cause there’s no place like home…

Girl Going Nowhere’ is an eclectic collection of tracks that are destined to gain popularity.

You can purchase ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ on iTunes here.

For a ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere,’ We Think Ashley McBryde is Goin’ Straight to the Top

Ashley McBryde is a name you’ve probably been hearing a lot more frequently in the world of country music. The Arkansas native has been making waves since her debut on country radio back in October 2017 as the most added new artist and most added female with her single, ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.’ The single hit No. 1 on SirusXM’s The Highway Top 30, and Ashley made her television debut performing the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers in January. Her raw, honest lyrics and rockin’ sound has won the hearts of countless fans, and McBryde’s talent has been advocated by some of the genre’s biggest names. She’s had the opportunity to share the stage with artists like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Chris Stapleton, and Eric Church who’s referred to Ashley as a “whiskey drinking badass.” She also caught our attention as we named her one of our Artists to Watch in 2018 for all of the above reasons and then some. We’ve already watched her find great success with her debut single, and now we’re patiently waiting for Ashley’s debut album, set to be released on March 30th.

The record, titled ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere,’ features 11 songs and was produced by Jay Joyce, who’s had success working with artists like Eric Church, Brandy Clark, and Little Big Town. “Working with Jay Joyce is like working with a mad scientist, in the coolest way,” McBryde raved. She described how Joyce has the ability to take songs that Ashley and her band already loved and bring a new life to them. “He’ll just make this one little tweak that changes everything about the song and it takes it from being a good song to a great song, or from a great song to an icon that you can wrap an identity around.” Of the 11 songs on the record, McBryde had a hand in writing each and every one. “There’s a few different groups of writers. Nicolette Hayford is a writer on a bunch of them. We produce really well and we’re not afraid to hurt each other’s feelings in the writing room, or in life. Jeremy Bussey is a co-writer on ‘Girl Goin Nowhere,’” she said, adding that they actually wrote that song the day they met. “Ever since, he’s continued this theme of being able to talk to you for about an hour and make you cry, and then when he sees that, whatever that is, that string that tugs in your gut when your throat tightens up and you think you’re going to tear up, he can see that – or smells it I’m not sure which one – then he goes for it like a great white.” And as intense as it sounds, McBryde insists that it makes for great songwriting. Not to mention it’s “cheaper than therapy,” she laughed. “And sometimes you get to drink beer while you do it, too!”

Having a strong personal connection to her songs makes it all the more rewarding when she see reactions and gets responses from her fans. For McBryde, it’s worth more than any chart success. Ashley shared a couple incredible stories that have had a particularly strong impact on her. One was an email from a guy in South America who had been in a bad car accident, “I think it was a hip he broke and he had collapsed both lungs,” McBryde explained. “And he said, ‘When I was able to speak and they took tubes out and I asked my nurse what is that song she had been humming, and it was your song. So I downloaded it and I’ve been listening to it and it’s been helping me through my recovery to keep my head focused on healing.’” Another story started with a simple Snapchat from a young girl, Ashley recalled. “She snapped me and said, ‘Hey, your song saved my life.’ So I snapped back and was like, ‘What do you mean? How did my song save your life,’ and she texted back and said, ‘I was listening to your song and it kept me from taking a phone call from my abusive ex,’” Ashley told us. “To have real proof of a real human being that those words impacted them in a moment of vulnerability, that is insane.” It’s one (very good) reason Ashley will always remain true to herself in her music.

Staying genuine is important both lyrically, in the stories McBryde tells, and in the music itself. Ashley’s style has often been compared to artists like Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton. “It’s good company to be in. If you’re going to lump some artists together to put Miranda and Stapleton and me in the same group, I’ll take it. I’m really admirers of both,” she said. But when putting this album together, the sound of the end result actually kind of surprised her. “It’s got a little bit more rock and roll than even I expected to come out on this record,” she said, making her own comparison to the Southern Rock sound of the Allman Brothers. “Southern rock doesn’t really exist anymore and I would not classify this as southern rock, but a little more on the rock side of country.”  

Ashley’s music is undoubtedly a far cry from the light and bubbly pop-country we hear so frequently coming through our radio airwaves – but that’s okay. “There’s a lot of people that are angry at pop country and I did my fair share of hating on it, but I don’t begrudge anybody for success. It’s not my cup of tea but I get why it works,” she explained. “Then I started thinking, we have this really good representation of female pop, and we have this weird hick-hop-rap thing… where is my Joan Jett? Where is my Pat Benatar? If we’re going to represent those we can represent this too … The way it’s going right now, country music is really taking on this task of blurring genre lines.” She referenced Zac Brown’s (incredibly awesome) project, Sir Roosevelt, “It’s so well done and well produced and well written, it should absolutely be played on country radio. All we have to do is build a bigger table and pull in more chairs. There’s absolutely room for all of it inside this genre.”

Ashley’s success so far is proof of that. She has a handful of shows lined up, including dates across the pond and an opening slot for some Miranda Lambert shows ahead of her ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere’ release on March 30th. With everything she’s already accomplished, it’s hard to imagine anything but a successful career for Ashley McBryde. We can’t wait for the album and we can’t wait to see where this girl goes.

You can follow Ashley on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Ashley’s album, ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere’ is available for pre-order here.

Main Photo Credit: John Peets