Ashley McBryde Drops Another Honest, Unvarnished Song

McBryde’s next album comes out April 3rd

By kncitom on February 21, 2020
(Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy )

Ashley McBryde’s next album isn’t due until April 3rd but already she’s released four songs from it: One Night Standards, Hang In There Girl, Martha Divine and now, First Thing I Reach For, and, like the other three, it’s an unvarnished peek into a life not so polished and perfect. The character in it has weaknesses she’s strong enough to talk about, but not quite strong enough to vanquish: bad habits, bad booze, bad sex. She doesn’t have all the answers-or any, really-but she knows it. She also knows that one day, change is going to have to come. But that’s for later. For now, there’s just more loneliness to keep at bay with her band and a dark sense of humor.

It’s what I love so much about McBryde, who was a guest on my songwriter podcast last year (you can hear the interview, here): she isn’t afraid to write or sing about weakness. Her song Livin’ Next To Leroy, from her first album, is the first in our format I can recall that addresses the ugliness of opioid addiction head-on while, at the same time, painting if not a sympathetic picture then at least an empathetic one of the song’s main character. As one of the lines in that song goes, “On the dark side of the country/it ain’t bonfires it ain’t beer“-a swipe at the cliche’d themes of many of today’s mainstream country hits. And as she said in our interview, there’s nothing wrong with singing about bonfires and beer, but don’t forget there’s another side of life out there. And while I personally would love nothing more than to see her vaulted into superstardom on her own terms, a la an Eric Church (with whom she shares producer Jay Joyce), if that never happens…? She is still building a fine career and loyal fan base by continuing be unafraid to write about weakness or all that isn’t so polished and perfect.

Around the site