Music

Story Behind the Song: Ashley McBryde's Autobiographical 'Girl Goin' Nowhere'

Ashley McBryde performs during Marty Stuart's 16th Annual Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

One of Ashley McBryde's signature songs, "Girl Goin' Nowhere," tells the true story of the former small-town dreamer's ascent to the top of the country music heap.

McBryde wrote "Girl Goin' Nowhere" after an unnamed high school algebra teacher told her to quit on her dreams of being a singer-songwriter. Instead, McBryde persevered and moved from Arkansas to Nashville.

McBryde first moved to Nashville in 2007, picking up the hard path of biker bars and dives. And, as they say, it's a 10-year town. McBryde eventually earned the ear of producer Jay Joyce.

Since signing a major label deal with Warner Music Nashville in 2017, McBryde has scored huge with two albums: 2018's Girl Going Nowhere and 2020's Never Will, featuring current single "One Night Standards." Not letting doubters drag her down opened the door for several early career accolades, including a Grammy nomination (Best Country Album), CMT award consideration and the Country Music Association's (CMA) New Artist of the Year award in 2019.

In that span, McBryde's also become a collaborator of Eric Church and Miranda Lambert and a fixture of Garth Brooks' personal playlist.

"Girl Goin' Nowhere's" still on the award show radar. McBryde's co-write with Jeremy Bussey is up for Song of the Year at the 2020 ACM Awards (airing Sept. 16 on CBS). Its competition ranges from Church's "Some of It" and Blake Shelton's "God's Country" to Old Dominion's "One Man Band" and Dan + Shay's Justin Bieber collaboration, "10,000 Hours."

READ MORE: The Real Bar Behind Ashley McBryde's "A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega"

McBryde's song connects on an emotional level when fans consider how chasing country music down that "Home Sweet Highway" was the "good backup plan" her teacher suggested, after all. Plus, it captures the artistry of McBryde as a vocalist and the writer or co-writer of all 11 songs on her debut album (she penned "Andy (I Can't Live Without You)" alone)."

This story, originally written by Jeremy Burchard, ran on Aug. 28, 2017. It was updated in Aug. 2020.

"Girl Going Nowhere" Lyrics

Don't waste your life behind that guitar
You may get gone, but you won't get far
You're not the first, you won't be the last
And you can tell us all about it when you come crawling back
That road you're on, just winds and winds
Your spinning your wheels and wasting you're time

But when the lights come up
And I hear the band
And where they said I'd never be is exactly where I am
I hear the crowd
I look around
And I can't find an empty chair
Not bad for a girl goin' nowhere

I get these calls, out on the road
Heard your song on my radio
We always said you'd make it big
And I tell all my friends, I knew you back when
So don't forget all us little folks
And when you crash and burn
Remember we told you so

And then the lights come up
And I hear the band
And where they said I'd never be is exactly where I am
I hear the crowd
I look around
And I can't find one empty chair
Not bad for a girl goin' nowhere

I need to thank my daddy
For that first set of strings
And all those folks who swore I'd never be anything
It took a whole lot of yes I wills and I don't care
A whole lot of basement dives and county fairs
To this show right now and y'all sure look good out there
Not bad for a girl goin' nowhere
Not bad for a girl goin' nowhere

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Story Behind the Song: Ashley McBryde's Autobiographical 'Girl Goin' Nowhere'