Ashley McBryde Talks Big CMT Awards Gig, Her Trophy Bathroom, and ‘Big Girl Boots’

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Ashley McBryde will fulfill one of her country music dreams tomorrow night, when she co-hosts the 2020 CMT Awards tomorrow night, October 21. In many ways, the truth-telling, lay-it-straight singer-songwriter has been living her dream for more than two years now, as she detailed on CBS This Morning.

Already, at just 37, Ashley McBryde has defied the doomed predictions from those like her teacher, who shattered even her dreams of musical success before the Arkansas native dared to set out on her own.  McBryde took those degrading words and transform them into the title song of her breakout 2018 album, Girl Goin’ Nowhere.  

Ashley’s personal and career trajectory have gone stratospheric ever since, and she has the trophies to prove it.  She revealed her very unique way of displaying the symbols of her country music recognition, her captivating video trilogy, and keeping her artistry on track through the pandemic. Ashley McBryde isn’t wasting a minute.

Virtual broadcasting brought a great gal buddy to Ashley McBryde

“I was nervous immediately,” Ashley McBryde confesses after being asked to join fellow co-hosts Kane Brown, Sarah Hyland, and more assorted luminaries who will share presenter duties at this year’s CMT Awards.  “I’ve always wanted to host or present in some way,” McBryde gushes of the fan-favorite ceremony.  She gave her “yes” automatically, but adds that “it’s been butterflies” for the seasoned entertainer ever since.

Sessions with Sarah Hyland have been a welcome blessing for Ashley McBryde.  Owning the stage as a singer is very different than presiding over one of the biggest nights in all of country music.  Zoom meetings between the two brought an immediate calm and relaxation to first-timer Ashley.  “She is such a sweetheart, and so good at this,” praises McBryde.  Hyland’s skill at making her broadcast partner “slow down and calm down” and most of all, “read the Teleprompter correctly” was so reassuring that Ashley McBryde is most looking forward to sharing the evening with Hyland and showing off her practice.

There is, of course, the extra delight of co-mingling with country music royalty and artists across all music and entertainment genres that the hosts only see once a year.  Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Brandi Carlile, and Jessica Chastain are among the presenters pitching in this year to hand over the coveted hardware.

The bathroom is the place to be in the Ashley McBryde abode

Speaking of hardware, there’s more than the typical type of fixtures in Ashley McBryde’s guest bathroom.  The “One Night Standards” hitmaker has a shelf devoted to much more than the usual essentials.  The ACM Award, CMA Award, and CMT Award forever engraved with “Ashley McBryde”sit  proudly for everyone to see while he or she sits or stands.  McBryde placed her first award there, marking blank spaces with Post-it notes naming future honors as a way to “manifest and show healthy- thinking.”  The display paid off, and now, many friends make selfies and give speeches while they have private moments with the statues.

It’s a sure bet that Ashley McBryde will need to build quite a few more shelves in the near future.  She’s got years and years of golden hits left to come.  She may have a new CMT trophy to display after these latest ceremonies.

A trilogy works just fine for Ashley McBryde

The year 2019 could not have been any more momentous for Ashley McBryde.  “I got a gold record!” the songwriter comments, almost in disbelief.  The artist was cautioned that she would never fit the “accepted” mold of country music success now celebrates millions of views on YouTube and countless fans who can’t get enough of her songs.

Ashley admits that, like many artists, “I was part of the couch” for the first month after the tragic reality of the pandemic hit.  She was deeply depressed and “down in the dumps” for about a month before accepting that “this is real” and understanding that we all have to come to terms with taking care of each other in a new way of life.  Then, Ashley McBryde put on her “Big Girl Boots.”

Slowly but surely, Ashley McBryde got back into the habit of “writing a song a day, like you’re supposed to do.” That dedication to her artist’s craft spread to other media.  McBryde is an old friend on CBS This Morning.  She offered a superb sampling from her CMA Award-nominated latest album, Never Will, on “Saturday Sessions” in July.

A surprise connection

One night, in a particularly creative pause, Ashley McBryde was thinking how she could connect all the songs on Never Will together.  It came to her that “One Night Standards,” “Martha Divine,” and “Hang in There Girl” could weave into one story.  The concept of the video trilogy was born.

First, the central character of “One Night Standards” is actually “Martha Divine,” but viewers don’t discover that tidbit until the second video.  Finally, let’s just say that a swinging shovel plays a part in “Hang in There Girl,” without being too much of a spoiler.  Ashley McBryde didn’t hold out too much hope that “they would ever let me do that concept.” Lo and behold, her vision came to pass, and will be part of fans’ favorite conversations from now on.

Two truthful country music ladies

As if her trophies, Top 10 hits, and hosting gig were not enough, Ashley McBryde will play the guitar of hollowed country music queen, Loretta Lynn.  Ashley will lovingly caress the neck and the strings of Lynn’s 1956 Gibson J 50 for the Big Night Benefit for the Country Music Hall Of Fame next week.

Ashley McBryde has proven her chops in biker bars and dives, but she was nervous to even pick up the guitar so steeped in love and history for Loretta Lynn without linen gloves.  “It’s incredible,” she echoes of the moment and the instrument.  McBryde will be performing Lynn’s classic, “When You’re Looking at Me, You’re Looking at Country.”

Thankfully, country music keeps changing and evolving, with more and more focus on acceptance and inclusion.  Ashley McBryde embodies the same strength and sense of identity that reigned over Loretta Lynn and the other legendary women of country.  Someday, someone will tenuously take a McBryde guitar for a strum, before giving the owner another notable award.




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