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.