Ashley McBryde: A Country Music Icon in the Making

Ashley McBryde: An Interview with a Country Music Icon in the Making

With the release of a new studio album, five Country Music Award nominations, and an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, it’s safe to say Ashley McBryde is staking her claim as an icon in the country music industry.

It’s an exciting year for Ariat Artist and country singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde. With the release of a new studio album, five Country Music Award nominations, and an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, it’s safe to say Ashley McBryde is staking her claim as an icon in the country music industry. And, she's been wearing her favorite Ariat boots every step of the way.

While Ashley McBryde may be one of the biggest names in country music right now, she hasn’t had a straight path to stardom. The humble beginnings depicted in those very songs that put her on the road to success have now been reimagined in her latest album, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville, through the stories of fictional characters – something not often heard on the country music charts.

Her own story began in the small Arkansas town of Mammoth Spring, where Ashley took a liking to music at a young age. After repeatedly playing with her father’s guitar, she was eventually gifted one of her own – forever unlocking her passion for songwriting.

She composed her first song at 12, later joining her high school marching band, then studying French horn during her stint at Arkansas State University. After a college professor noticed her raw talent and encouraged her to pursue music full-time, Ashley dropped out of college and made the move to Nashville to follow her country music dreams.

Like many country musicians, Ashley released her own self-titled album before finding commercial success. It took many Nashville nights performing at dive bars and eclectic venues before she started turning heads in the industry. Eventually, she began opening for well-known performers including Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, and Chris Cagle, leading to the signing of her own recording contract with Warner Music Nashville in 2017.

It was only a short period of time before her songs climbed to the top of the country charts and she had GRAMMY nominations under her belt. Now, she’s riding the wave of the release of her third major-label record and newest concept album, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.

Her latest work was never actually intended to hit mainstream music audiences. What started as a songwriting exercise among collaborators in a rural cabin outside Nashville ultimately gave way to a collection of songs that portray everyday America through the stories of characters in the fictional town of Lindeville.

While each song on the album can stand on its own, they collectively tell a bigger story. The record has already garnered acclaim from critics, cited by NPR and Rolling Stone as a “glorious detour into downhome character studies” and a “wildly inventive” album, respectively.

If dropping a new album and gearing up for the biggest night in country music wasn’t enough, Ashley McBryde also recently received some exciting news: she will officially become a member of the Grand Ole Opry next month. The invitation came from none other than country music icon Garth Brooks during her appearance on CBS Mornings.

An Opry invitation is one of the most coveted recognitions not only in country music, but in the entire entertainment industry. The honor puts her in the company of other country music legends including Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and many others. Her induction into the Grand Ole Opry will take place on December 10 during a special two-show evening, forever solidifying her spot in country music’s most illustrious family.

We sat down with Ashley to learn more about songwriting approach and how the concept of her first character-based album came to life through collaboration.

How does it feel to be nominated in five categories at the CMA Awards this year?

It’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers, but 5 nominations, wow that was a surprise in the best possible way.

What are you most looking forward to at the CMA Awards this year?

I’m always excited to see what the collabs will be and who is performing. You know me, I’m a fan! And that’s definitely apparent at awards shows. I’m hardly in my seat. I can’t wait to find out who gets us on our feet first.

Tell us about your new album, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.

Lindeville is what happens when you toss aside every rule, expectation, and “you should” and let pure creativity lead the way. I am so proud of this project from start the finish. The writing and recording were unlike anything I have experienced and then to see people react to it so positively the way they have, it’s been beyond special.

What was the inspiration behind this album? What was the song creation or collaboration process like?

While talking with two writers I collaborate with regularly, Aaron Raitiere and Pillbox Patti, we realized that we had written various songs about all sorts of characters drawing from our personal experiences and we thought, we might as well give them a home. So, we invited some of our favorite people to join us, we met in a cabin for a week and built an entire town for all these eccentric people to live.

How did you come up with the album name and song titles?

Once we decided we were going to make this town and fill it with all these characters we decided to tip our cap to one of the greatest character-based songwriters of all time, Dennis Linde. He had a very different style of songwriting, but it felt right to nod to him by naming the town after him.

Ashley McBryde and her collaborators invite you to discover Lindeville. Buy or stream Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville, available now on all major music platforms.

You can also catch her at the Opry House in Nashville during her Grand Ole Opry induction performances on Saturday, December 10 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. CST.