On her upcoming single “Radioland,” Ashley McBryde waxes poetically about country radio’s impact on her creative journey. The 34-year-old singer grew up in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas at a time when the FM dial could connect small town folks to such big Nashville names as Trisha Yearwood, Mark Chesnutt, and Patty Loveless. That places her in the last group of kids to have to tape their favorite songs off the radio onto blank cassettes.
It’s a nod to a time when the country station audible in a little town meant a lot more. Nowadays, there’s so many other ways to keep up with and learn about country music. It’s hard to believe that even small town kids need more than an iTunes or Spotify account to discover a Townes Van Zandt, much less the latest crossover single by Florida Georgia Line.
McBryde’s song celebrates better times in “Radioland” with a single that crosses over into blues-fired rock ‘n’ roll instead of the dance beats that populate the airwaves now. To get across why she daydreamed back then with a hairbrush microphone in hand, the singer hones in on the forward-leaning yet roots-honoring vibes of the rock and country standards that were the soundtrack to countless weekend joy rides. She namedrops Johnny and June and Jack and Diane in a song that both the Carter-Cash clan and a young John Mellencamp would understand loud and clear.
It’s the latest single off her major-label debut album Girl Going Nowhere. Beyond winning over fans with prior single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” and the equally poignant “American Scandal,” the Jay Joyce-produced album established McBryde as an ideal tour mate for Luke Combs, Eric Church and others.
McBryde plans to spend the rest of the summer and the fall on tour, including headline dates from September through December that take her across the South and all the way to the U.K.