Ashley McBryde remains one of country music’s most authentic originals. More than anything, the standout storyteller yearns to be back on stage playing shows with her loyal band, the Trybe. Until public health and safety permit full and happy returns to concert experiences, the “Martha Divine” singer-songwriter is doing her best to keep the music coming to the masses. Consequently, these are the same masses who rack up millions of YouTube views for the artist. Ashley McBryde understands the power of giving back. She also makes very good use of her time.
Pandemic repercussions took hold of the country music world just at the moment when Ashley McBryde rode a wave of success like she had never known before. Initially, the lady who reveals her tender heart on the tattooed ink of her arms in songs like “Bible and a .44” confesses that she moped for a month or so, becoming “part of the couch.” Eventually, though, Ashley made her way to the closet and “put on my big girl boots” and decided “to do what I know how to do,” as she describes in the CMA Awards special, Country Strong with some famous friends last fall.
Speaking of good friends, the lovely ginger-haired “Family Tree” singer, Caylee Hammack holds Ashley McBryde in the highest regard as a friend, as CMT notes. Garth Brooks also counts Ashley McBryde as if one of his favorite musicians making country music, and as he tells Taste of Country, he considers her to be the essence of “a true songwriter.”
Caylee Hammack calls Ashley McBryde her ‘problem solver’
“Just Friends” is another heart-wrenching favorite by Caylee Hammack, but when it comes to Ashley McBryde, Hammack never calls their relationship anything with “just” in front of it.
Just like Ashley McBryde does in her songs, Hammack relates how any “serious question or something” from a friend prompts McBryde to instantly “dive in and digest it with you, be there with you and think everything out.” A pat answer is out of the question for the “First Thing I Reach For” artist. When Caylee confronts a tough life issue, she turns to her confidant and mentor. “She’s kind of my problem solver,” Hammack extols McBryde in the recent Radio.com Leading Ladies Limelight tribute.
Some advice from Ashley McBryde that Caylee Hammack keeps front and center in her mind is to “Be wary of who you let judge you, tell you where your talent lies, and what you need to say.” McBryde turns the words of the teacher who dismisses and demolishes her musical passion into a personal statement of power in “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.”
As it happens, Garth Brooks is among the millions of fans who absolutely adore “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.” The Country icon famous for “Friends in Low Places” puts Ashley McBryde at the top of his list of admired collaborators and friends.
Garth has a grand time working with Ashley McBryde
Way back in 2019, Garth Brooks called Ashley McBryde “rare in everything you do.” He reworks her autobiographical ode as “Guy Goin’ Nowhere” on his latest live album release.
When the creative muses and the stars lined up to bring Ashley McBryde together with Garth Brooks and his frequent songwriting partner, Mitch Rossell, the experience turned into a dream come true, and less effort for the guys in the room.
“That was pretty freakin’ cool,” Brooks declares on his Inside Studio G Facebook streaming session. The result of the combined effort is “somethin’ Country—stone Country,” in the chart champion’s opinion.
Ashley McBryde tells her own stories of fighting her way out of a bar, artistically speaking, to compare with those from Garth that fill his live performances. She likely doesn’t object to the compliment that “She’s an animal, man. She just tore it up!”
For much of the time, Rossell and Brooks simply stayed clear of Ashley McBryde and watched the magic happen. It didn’t take long.
“If one of you’s on a roll, just keep the hell out of the way—just cheer ‘em on,” Brooks counsels. That’s exactly what the boys did. Aside from tidbits from the treasured time, fans will have to wait for the lasting result “on record.” It’s certain to be worth the wait for faithful Garth Brooks legions, lovers of anything by Ashley McBryde, or lovers of great country music period.
Always doing her part
Ashley McBryde and Caylee Hammack came together last fall for the Grammy-winning “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” an all-star female remake of the 1976 Elvin Bishop song. The love project got its launch from Miranda Lambert, who is another “shero” for Hammack. One of the blessings in these sheltered circumstances is that Country contemporaries who typically wait lifetimes to work together are making music now since everyone has the time.
This year, Miranda Lambert took the Best Country Album trophy at the Grammy’s for Wildcard. Still, nothing takes away the conviction, pathos, or girl-fun from Ashley McBryde on Never Will. The gifts from the fan-favorite, “Martha Divine” just keep giving. McBryde released a rousing “From A Distance” version just two weeks ago.
Ashley McBryde, Old Dominion, Lee Brice, and Scotty McCreery are busy this coming Friday night, March 26. The performers are sharing the bill and hosting duties for the 2nd Avenue Strong benefit concert at Nashville’s heralded Wildhorse Saloon. All proceeds go to the 2nd Avenue Restoration and Preservation Fund. The district in the heart of Music City is still in dire need of rebuilding after the Christmas Day bombing. The evening’s event aims to raise $2 million of the $10 million proposed for the full rebuild.
Ashley McBryde still yearns to look into the eyes of every fan singing the verses of her every song. Hopefully, this Friday at the Wildhorse foretells better days to come. Anytime music and friends unite with the purpose, even a pandemic can’t prevent miracles.
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