|Born||July 29, 1983|
Saddle, Arkansas, U.S.
|Labels||Warner Music Nashville|
Ashley McBryde (born July 29, 1983) is an American country music singer–songwriter. Raised in Arkansas, she was drawn to various types of music from a young age. She also developed a passion for writing songs and later moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career.
Between 2006 and 2011, McBryde released a pair of self-released albums. Her 2016 extended play (EP) titled Jalopies & Expensive Guitars drew attention from country artist Eric Church. His support helped her gain a country music recording contract with Warner Music Nashville. In 2017, the label released her debut single "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega". The song was followed by her corresponding studio release Girl Going Nowhere (2018). Both the album and the single received critical acclaim and led to recognition from several music associations. It was followed by 2019's Never Will, which was also met with critical acclaim. Its lead single "One Night Standards" reached the top 20 of the American country songs chart and topped the Canadian country survey.
McBryde was raised in Saddle, Arkansas. Her father was a preacher resulting in her family to grow up in a strict household. "...when I was growing up, [and] I don’t ever remember not seeing a gun or a Bible. He raised us that way -- as mean as that sounds, and as sweet as that sounds, too," she told Billboard. As a child she was drawn to the music she heard around her house, which included songs by The Carpenters and Kris Kristofferson. She often played around with her father's guitar, which prompted her family to buy McBryde her own guitar. McBryde wrote her first song at age 12 and hoped to become a singer–songwriter. She also traveled with her mother to bluegrass festivals which further inspired her music career.
McBryde participated in the high school band before attending Arkansas State University where she studied the french horn. At the same time she was performing regularly in clubs located in nearby Memphis, Tennessee. In one class session, a college professor noticed her disinterest with her studies and encouraged McBryde to drop out to pursue music full-time. "So I did, that day," she recalled.
2006–2016: Beginnings in Nashville
In 2006, McBryde self-released an eponymous demo album. In 2007, McBryde moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career. She started performing with the band Deadhorse and performed at any gig she could get. This included biker bars and hangouts, and other eclectic venues in the Nashville area. She also worked a day job at Guitar Center and played open mic nights. In 2009 and 2010, she won the annual Country Showdown talent competition. McBryde's band also won Tennessee's state-wide "Battle of the Bands" contest. In 2011, she self-released her second demo album titled Elsebound. During this period, McBryde also toured frequently. She often opened concerts for country artists like Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton and Chris Cagle.
In 2016, McBryde released the extended play (EP) Jalopies & Expensive Guitars. The project was issued on Road Life Records. For the disc, McBryde was told to straighten her hair and make other changes to her appearance. "We were trying to play the game," she told The New York Times. The EP was discovered by Eric Church, who invited McBryde to play her song "Bible and a .44" onstage with him during one night of his "Holdin' My Own" tour. The video of her performance went viral and she was soon finding regular concert work. She also signed a management deal with Q Publishing during this same period. Also around this time, McBryde recorded what would later comprise her debut studio album. The project was heard by Cris Lacy, a senior vice president for Warner Music Nashville. Lacy was drawn to her music and signed McBryde to a recording contract with the label in September 2017.
2017–present: Breakthrough with Girl Going Nowhere
In 2017, Warner Music released McBryde's debut single titled "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega". The track became a popular download, taking higher positions on iTunes than that of more established acts like Paramore. The song climbed to number 30 on both Billboard's Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. It was later named one of the 54 Best Songs of 2017 by The New York Times, and one of the Top 25 Best Country Songs of 2017 by Rolling Stone. In March 2018, the label released her debut studio album called Girl Going Nowhere. The disc reached number seven on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and number 49 on the Billboard 200. Critics praised Girl Going Nowhere for going beyond country music's expectations for a record. Other critics like Robert Ham found that McBryde pushed for quality music versus radio-friendly hits: "The needle may keep moving for female country artists, but that’s of little concern to McBryde. She’s on a journey toward career longevity and Nowhere is her confident and solid first step." The album later spawned the title track as a single, which charted in the Country Airplay top 40.
McBryde made her first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 2017 and received a nomination from the Grammy Awards around the same time. Additionally, McBryde won both the Academy of Country Music's "New Female Artist of the Year" award and the Country Music Association's "New Artist of the Year" award. In fall 2018, McBryde embarked on the Girl Going Nowhere Tour, her first as a headlining act. In 2019, she joined George Strait and Little Big Town on several concert dates.
In September 2019, McBryde released the lead single off her next album titled "One Night Standards". It later became her first top 20 single on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Country Songs charts. In Canada, the song reached the number one spot on their country chart. It appeared on McBryde's second studio album in April 2020 titled Never Will. It was her second collection produced by Jay Joyce. The disc was her second to reach the top ten of the Country Albums chart and her second to reach a charting position on the Billboard 200. Critics drew similarities to that of her debut album. "The air of defiance in the name Never Will sets expectations for Ashley McBryde's second major-label album, echoing how the title Girl Going Nowhere framed the understanding for the 11 songs on her stellar 2018 debut," wrote AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. The album and lead single led McBryde to receive more nominations from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association. Additionally, the charting single "Martha Divine" was spawned from her second album in late 2020.
With concert dates cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McBryde instead released a live EP named Never Will: Live from a Distance. In 2021, she returned to performing with her second headlining tour called This Town Talks. Later in the year, she collaborated with Carly Pearce on the duet "Never Wanted to Be That Girl", which was released as a single in September 2021.
Musical styles and influences
McBryde's musical style combines country with the genres of rock, bluegrass, country pop and country rock. Writer Mark Deming characterized McBryde as "a vocalist and songwriter with a touch of rock & roll swagger, a honky tonk heart, and a lyrical voice that puts a modern-day spin on classic country themes." Rolling Stone's Jonathan Bernstein called her "a whiskey-swilling high priestess of dive bars whose radically lyrics-driven, rock-leaning approach to mainstream country commands instant attention." In regards to influencing her musical style, McBryde credits Mary Chapin Carpenter, Charlie Daniels, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams.
In 2018, McBryde's brother, Clay McBryde, died at the age of 53. Details concerning his death were not revealed. McBryde has publicly spoken about having a difficult relationship with her father due to her decision to pursue a music career. "My favorite song I've ever written being 'A Bible and a .44' ... it's about my father, who does not approve of any of his children making a living in any kind of entertainment industry. It's unacceptable for anyone to make their living in the entertainment business," she told Taste of Country.
In September 2021, McBryde was forced to postpone a few concerts, in the midst of her headlining This Town Talks Tour, after falling off a horse and landing on her head. The accident resulted in a concussion and the need for stitches on her scalp.
Awards and nominations
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|2018||Academy of Country Music Awards||New Female Vocalist of the Year||Won|||
|New Female Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|61st Annual Grammy Awards||Best Country Album – Girl Going Nowhere||Nominated|||
|2019||Academy of Country Music Awards||Song of the Year – "Girl Goin' Nowhere"||Nominated|||
|Musical Event of the Year – "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"||Won|
|Country Music Association Awards||New Artist of the Year||Won|||
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program – CBS This Morning Saturday||Nominated|||
|62nd Annual Grammy Awards||Best Country Song – "Girl Goin' Nowhere"||Nominated|||
|Best Country Solo Performance – "Girl Goin' Nowhere"||Nominated|
|2020||Academy of Country Music Awards||Album of the Year – Never Will||Nominated|||
|Female Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Song of the Year – "One Night Standards"||Nominated|
|Country Music Association Awards||Album of the Year – Never Will||Nominated|||
|Female Vocalist of the Year||Nominated|
|Musical Event of the Year – "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"||Nominated|
|63rd Annual Grammy Awards||Best Country Album – Never Will||Nominated|||
|2021||Country Music Association Awards||Female Artist of the Year||Nominated|||
|Single of the Year – "One Night Standards"||Nominated|
|Song of the Year – "One Night Standards"||Nominated|
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- "Ashley McBryde biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
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- Hyman, Dan. "Ashley McBryde Fulfills Lifelong Band Director Dream as Inaugural CMA Foundation Unified Voices for Music Education Artist Ambassador". CMA Foundation. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
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- Pareles, Jon. "The 54 Best Songs of 2017". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Chris Parton, Marissa R. Moss, Dan Hyman, Brittney McKenna, Jeff Gage (December 14, 2017). "25 Best Country Songs of 2017". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 26, 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- McBryde, Ashley (March 30, 2018). "Girl Going Nowhere (CD Liner Notes and Album Information)". Warner Music Nashville. 9362490772.
- "Ashley McBryde chart history (Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
- "Ashley McBryde chart history (Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Girl Going Nowhere: Ashley McBryde: Songs, reviews, credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
- Ham, Robert (April 3, 2018). "Ashley McBryde: Girl Going Nowhere Review". Paste. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
- "Academy of Country Music: Search winners: Ashley McBryde". Academy of Country Music. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
- "CMA Past Winners & Nominees: Ashley McBryde". Country Music Association. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
- Levenson, Luke (May 21, 2018). "Ashley McBryde Plots Fall 2018 Girl Going Nowhere Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- Stefano, Angela. "Ashley McBryde Is Ready for an 'Even Crazier' 2019". Taste of Country. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- Moore, Bobby (August 30, 2019). "Hear Ashley McBryde's New Single, 'One Night Standards'". The Boot. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
- Betts, Stephen (January 17, 2020). "Ashley McBryde Announces New Album 'Never Will'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
- "Ashley McBryde chart history (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- McBryde, Ashley (April 3, 2020). "Never Will (CD Liner Notes and Album Information)". Warner Music Nashville. 625135.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Never Will: Ashley McBryde: Songs, reviews, credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (April 3, 2020). "Review: Ashley McBryde's Never Will". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- Dowling, Marcus K. (May 28, 2021). "Ashley McBryde Releases Her Long-Awaited 'Live from a Distance' EP". Country Music Television. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
- Stefano, Angela. "Ashley McBryde Will Headline Theaters on 2021-2022 This Town Talks Tour". Taste of Country. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
- Freeman, Jon. "Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde's 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl' Is a Top-Flight Cheating Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
- Thompson, Gayle. "Ashley McBryde Combines Country, Rock and White Trash on New Album, 'Never Will' (Exclusive)". popculture. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (March 28, 2018). "Ashley McBryde on New Album: 'Country Fans Have Been Spoon-Fed Music for Years'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- Bennie, Brian Jr. "Ashley McBryde Interview : Your Questions Answered!". Six Shooter Country. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- Stefano, Angela. "Ashley McBryde: Charlie Daniels Was One of Our First Rock Stars". Taste of Country. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- Quine, Katie. "A lot of talent has come out of the women of the Opry these past 95 years, and there's no telling how many future Opry members in these next 95 years they will have inspired". Grand Ole Opry. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- Stefano, Angela. "Ashley McByrde's Brother Clay Has Died". The Boot. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
- Betts, Stephen L. (April 1, 2019). "Ashley McBryde Talks Hard Relationship With Her Father in Teary Interview". Yahoo!. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
- Krol, Jaclyn. "Ashley McBryde Opens Up About Her Dad's Reaction to ACM Nods". Taste of Country. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
- Iasimone, Ashley (September 25, 2021). "Ashley McBryde Recovering After Horseback Riding Accident That Left Her With a Concussion and Unable to Walk 'Without Assistance'". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
- "Ashley McBryde: Artist". Grammy Awards. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
- "Ashley McBryde is nominated for Daytime Emmy for CBS This Morning". Eu.tennessean.com. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2020-04-29.