Ashley McBryde played on the first NashvilleEar Songwriter Stage show I held in Nashville. It was back in 2010 at the Bost Harley Davidson shop at 9am on a Saturday morning. We were drinking coffee and eating doughnuts as Ashley came in like a true experienced professional. She got up and played a 17 min set with the energy like it was Friday evening at the Grand Ole Opry.
Ashley had won a large songwriter festival the week before. Some of the other songwriters that had been beaten by her and said "This girl is special" . Ashley had a warm personality and thanked us for the opportunity to play our event. She was opening later that evening at 12th and Lindsey for Beth Heart. She is the poster child for playing all the State fairs and all the clubs for years to get noticed and appreciated. I did not see here again for a few years then I watched her steady rise step by step & song by song. She has paid her dues many times over. I am very proud of her achieving the honor of playing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2017. I have decided she has demonstrated all the skills and talents to make Ashley McBryde the 2018 "Best of the Best" songwriter for the Nashville Ear.
"I hear the crowd, I look around, and I can't find one empty chair. Not bad for a girl going nowhere" sings Ashley McBryde on "Girl Goin' Nowhere," the seminal title track from her forthcoming LP. They're words built from experience: over the course of her life, McBryde's been finding her own way to fill those seats and sway those hearts since the very first time her teacher told her that her dreams of writing songs in Nashville would never see the light of day. Every time she was brought down, she persevered; trusting her timeless tone and keen, unwavering eye for the truth. It paid off. In April, Eric Church brought her on stage and called her a "whiskey-drinking badass," confessing that he's a massive fan. The rest of the world is quickly catching on, too.
Dubbed as one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need To Know," citing she's "an Arkansas red-clay badass, with the swagger of Hank Jr. and the songwriting of Miranda Lambert," McBryde fearlessly lays it all on the line, and it's that honest all-in approach that has led to NPR critic Ann Powers to ask if McBryde could be "among the first post-Stapleton country stars?" McBryde's album will showcase an artistic vision that will prove her to be one of the genre's keenest working storytellers, bringing unwavering honesty back into a pop-preoccupied genre. Pulling tales from every corner of her human experience, McBryde sings with fire and fury, laughing and swigging that brown stuff along the way.
McBryde was raised in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. At three, she'd secretly pluck her father's guitar like an upright bass, and after about the 17th time being caught, her father bought her a guitar of her own. When she was twelve, she played her parents and grandparents her very first composition. It was at Arkansas State when, while a member of the marching band, McBryde finally started sharing her voice with others, and finally moved to Nashville in 2007 where steadily worked a circuit of dive bars, biker hangouts, and colorful joints fighting to have her songs heard.
Her first EP, the self-released 2016 Jalopies and Expensive Guitars was just a taste of what McBryde can do, and, on her full-length debut, she will meld her songwriting chops with the vision of producer Jay Joyce, peppering her tales with a touch of guitar-driven rock fury. McBryde isn’t afraid to tell the truth, get raw and real and use the spirits of country, folk and rock when it serves her greater purpose. And that's to tell the stories that shake us, make us and tell us a little more about what it's like to be human.