Ashley McBryde keeps finding unique ways to showcase her art, passion, and talent through these unusual pandemic days. The country music standout always does things her own way. Standing her ground is something that the Arkansas native took to heart when she was told that her musical aspirations were less than pipedreams in front of a classroom of her peers. Ashley McBryde directly quotes that teacher in the title and the verses of her 2018 major-label debut, Girl Going Nowhere. She’s been teaching her own lessons on the trajectory to success ever since.
The Christmas Day bombing of 2020 that struck the heart of the 2nd Avenue area in Music City has faded from the consciousness of some under the stresses of failed power grids and no drinkable water. For those residents who make Nashville home, however, the harrowing sounds and shattered glass, not to mention the ominous recorded warning, are impossible to forget.
Ashley McBryde, like every musician who knows the heart and haunts of Nashville, remembers the fearful awakening of that holiday morning. The singer-songwriter heads a roster of Country hitmakers, including Lee Brice, Old Dominion, and Scotty McCreery, banding together to raise funds for the 2nd Avenue Restoration and Preservation Fund. Proceeds from the March 26 event promote the rebuilding efforts in the district, as Yahoo News per Southern Living confirms.
The pandemic never pauses the music for Ashley McBryde
Ashley McBryde’s follow up to Girl Going Nowhere, Never Will, garners a 2021 Grammy nomination, with its personal and powerful themes of personal truth and never surrendering the sense of identity. Like every other artist in Music City, McBryde admits that the complete but necessary shutdown of live music prompted her to “be part of the couch,” and she related last November to the CMA special, Country Strong. “I had to put my big girl boots on and do what I knew how to do,” McBryde stresses.
While the venue doors closed, the opportunities for Ashley McBryde to share her insight and artistry increased. She was among the hosts for the 2020 CMT Awards and assumed her role as The CMA Foundation’s first Artist Ambassador of United Voices for Music Education last fall. The curly-haired McBryde, who cut her chops in biker bars, proudly leaves a collection of lesson plans and video conversations to inspire music students into the future.
The truth-telling songwriter felt the kindred connection and awestruck nerves as she strummed Loretta Lynn’s 1956 Gibson guitar and sang, “You’re Looking at Country” for the Big Night at the Museum event in support of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum. Ashley McBryde isn’t spending the lockdown year lollygagging, by any means. Still, no one misses the live show experience more.
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This lineup launches into this benefit on a wave of hit music
Ashley McBryde isn’t doing all the heavy lifting with the hits. Lee Brice is a perennial presence and powerhouse songwriter in country music. No one scans favorite country music channels without hearing at least a few Lee Brice songs. Sadly, though, the pandemic it home on a very personal level for the “One of Them Girls” singer. Last November, Brice announced his own virus diagnosis. He has since recovered and already hopes to return to the touring stage in 2021, vaccinations permitting.
It never hurts to have ACM Award-nominated songs on a setlist. Lee Brice’s collaboration with Carly Pearce, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” is sure to make fans happy at the Wildhorse Saloon on March 26th. The song may see Carly and Lee smiling extra-wide on April 18 if the two take home the trophy for Single of the Year. Will Ashley McBryde join in for a jam session? Tune in and see!
Listeners already lap up anything from the quintet of guys comprising Old Dominion. The 2018 and 2019 CMA Vocal Group of the Year is already involved in a big way with Saving Our Stages. The “One Man Band” country-pop crooners come from Nashville and certainly want to make more than a dent in the dollars needed for restoration.
As it happens, country music lovers have followed Scotty McCreery since his 2011 American Idol run, and this worthwhile charity likely provides the only time fans will see the good-natured baritone on the bill with Ashley McBryde. McCreery’s just-released single, “You Time,” chronicles trading dates on the road with time at home, perfectly relatable in these times.
The goal of the #2ndAvenueStrong benefit evening is to raise $2 million of the full $10 million projected as needed for the district’s complete rebuilding. The country music community remains united as a family, and Ashley McBryde and these musician friends seem blessed to get the shovels moving.
Fans can’t get enough of Ashley McBryde’s ‘Martha Divine’
Speaking of shovels, the usually innocent household implement takes on a whole other purpose in the songs “One Night Standards,” “Hang in There Girl, and “Martha Divine.” Ashley McBryde shows brilliance as a filmmaker in tying together clues without revealing too early that Martha Divine is the central character all along.
McBryde was completely shocked that “they would ever let me do that concept,” but labels have a way of loving when an artist, a story, and a song are hot. In this case, all three apply for Ashley McBryde. Fans flock to watch the videos again and again. Rocking performances, like the one on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, feed into the almost cult-like frenzy for the video trilogy.
As CMT News notes, Ashley McBryde plucks six plum performance tracks from Never Will to create her new EP, Never Will Live From A Distance, releasing May 28. The best part of the experience for McBryde was that it provided “the first time we saw each in person for months,” the artist relates of her band, The Trybe.
Ashley aims to give her faithful fans “a taste of what they would have seen,” except for “the world changed so much.”
The festivities at the Wildhorse Saloon won’t be the “live and in-person” that Ashley McBryde, Old Dominion, Lee Brice, Scotty McCreery, and every country music fan longs for just yet. Nonetheless, anytime music and friends unite for good, something great always happens.
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