Ashley McBryde performs during the 14th Annual Academy Of Country Music Honors at Ryman Auditorium on August 25, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

The 10 Best Ashley McBryde Songs


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They say Nashville is a 10-year-town, and there's certainly truth to that statement. Just ask Ashley McBryde. The daughter of a preacher man, the Arkansas native moved to Music City in 2007 after the release of her first self-titled demo record and began performing around town as part of a band called Deadhorse. Another demo record followed four years later.

Her tough-as-nails determination, work ethic, and sheer talent soon paid off. She released her Jalopies & Expensive Guitars EP in 2016 on Road Life Records and quickly had the attention of record labels and executives all up and down Music Row. She signed with Warner Music in the fall of 2017 and issued her debut major label single "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega" to anchor her first LP, Girl Goin' Nowhere.

And the rest is history.

One of today's finest storytellers, McBryde keeps one foot firmly in country tradition and the other in pushing the genre forward, blending rock, blues, and a dash of folk into her work. She released her second full-length, Never Will, in 2020. With only two albums to her name, she's more than proved herself as a force to be reckoned with.

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Below, here are McBryde's 10 best songs so far.

"Girl Goin' Nowhere"

Empowering songs can fit into one of two categories: punchy and anthemic, or plaintive and sad. "Girl Goin' Nowhere" fits snuggly in the latter, the third single to McBryde's major label debut LP of the same name. It didn't become the chart smash it should have, but it instantly cemented her place within the modern country landscape.

"One Night Standards"

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The lead single to Never Will, "One Night Standards" is a story song with bite and kicked off a trilogy of music videos. This initial installment presented a story of infidelity, as two lovers rendezvous at a local, backroads motel. "I don't give a damn about the morning after," she sings over trembling guitar and organ. A Canadian radio chart-topper, it went on to snag a pair of CMA nominations.

"A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega"

McBryde immediately demonstrated strengths in storytelling and melody with her first major label single "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega." The story song details a chance meeting, after the narrator's car breaks down, that leads to romance and eventually marriage. "Here's to the breakups!" she raises a toast. It was those early heartaches that led her to this very moment. A charming little ditty, it proved she was serious about her craft.

"Stone"

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With "Stone," a Never Will deep cut, McBryde opens up about the death of her brother. "There's a lot of things that should be written in one / But your name ain't one of 'em," she sings on the chorus. A delicate backdrop surrounds her voice, ebbing and flowing with an ethereal charm. The pain hangs thick on her tongue, but it's never overwrought. It's delivered with a quiet, powerful emotion.

"Bible and a .44"

On one of her pre-fame releases, McBryde wrote a somber song titled "Bible and a .44" about her father and upbringing. "He'd see through a lie like an old screen door," she sings. "He taught me how to hunt / And how to love the Lord." This juxtaposition lies at not only the heart of the song but who she grew up to be: a tough-as-nails warrior with a heart of pure gold.

"First Thing I Reach For"

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McBryde exposes a little of her outlaw, vice-addicted side with "First Thing I Reach For," found on Never Will. "Brown liquor in black coffee puts my headache off for now," she opens on the first verse. A honky tonk spirit, the mid-tempo track pounds through themes of loneliness and disconnection. She later remarks, "If I can keep away the lonely for a moment, well that's good enough for me."

"American Scandal"

The greatest love story never told (between President John F. Kennedy and movie star Marilyn Monroe) becomes the core of "American Scandal." In lieu of writing a traditional love story, McBryde and her co-writers opted for a love that hurts. "You got them lining up to watch you want me / Let's one up the rumors," she vows, flipping through tabloid headlines.

"Sparrow"

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This Never Will deep cut utilizes the imagery of a sparrow to tell a heartfelt story of missing home. "Telephones and postcards / I called you from the lobby bar on Tuesday / How's the Okra coming up? / And boy, I wish I had me some / Save me a plate," reflects McBryde.

"The Jacket"

A tattered denim jacket may be inconsequential for some, but for McBryde, her father's jacket carries the entire history of him and his many travels. In "The Jacket," the singer/songwriter personifies the article of clothing and imparts sage wisdom about living and losing in life. "This thing is two thousand bonfires, hitchhiked to Boulder," she sings. "It's kept a million raindrops off your mama's shoulders."

"Martha Divine"

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The second part of a trilogy, "Martha Divine" picks up a dark, twisted tale of infidelity where "One Night Standards" left off. Production and instruments radiate a swampy, bluesy undercurrent. McBryde is poised at its swirling center. "It ain't murder if I bury you alive," she confesses.

READ MORE: Ashley McBryde on 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl' and Friendship With Carly Pearce

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