It’s Been One Hell Of A Year For Ashley McBryde

Words by Rob Nicholson

With the Clay County Fair in high gear, it means plenty of live concerts through the event’s run April 9. As usual, fair organizers have booked an outstanding lineup this year, and one performer, in particular, is high on the list of can’t-miss acts: Ashley McBryde.

McBryde’s duet with Carly Pearce, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” (a song about being the other woman), went all the way to No. 1 and earned McBryde and Pearce a host of ACM and CMA awards, as well as a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. By the time you read this, she may have a CMT Award under her belt too (the show airs April 2.)

Fellow ACM and CMA award winner Dierks Bentley described McBryde as having a “touch of rock and roll swagger, a honky-tonk heart and a lyrical voice that puts a modern-day spin on classic country themes.” Originally from Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, McBryde first displayed her interest in music when she was 3 years old and tried to play her father’s guitar. After repeatedly telling young Ashley to leave the instrument alone, her parents decided the best solution was to get her a guitar of her own. McBryde stuck with the guitar, and at 17 she wrote her first song. Initially, she was shy about sharing her work, and it wasn’t until she attended Arkansas State University (where she studied French horn) that she began performing her songs for people outside her immediate family.

In 2016, McBryde issued an eight-song EP, “Jalopies & Expensive Guitars,” that helped build a buzz about her music, and country star Eric Church began singing her praises, describing her as a “whiskey-drinkin’ badass” and joining her on-stage to duet on her song “Bible and a .44.” After Church gave McBryde his endorsement, more and more people began to take notice, and she finally broke through with the single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,” which found an audience on streaming services and led to her making her first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in June 2017.

Speaking of the Opry, earlier this year, Garth Brooks popped up via video in the middle of an interview on “CBS Mornings” to invite McBryde to officially become a member the Grand Ole Opry family. Needless to say, she was overwhelmed with emotion (and so was Brooks). 

You can hear McBryde’s latest hit, “Light on in the Kitchen,” on the radio or streaming. 

Ashley McBryde performs at the Clay County Agricultural Fair Cattlemen’s Arena, April 4 at 7 p.m. with opening act Lily Rose. For tickets, visit



About Rob Nicholson

Rob started his media career in the late 80’s working in the Press Office at the Georgia House of Representatives. From there, Rob segued in to Radio at The Voice of Georgia State University, WRAS Album 88.5 in Atlanta. In the early 90’s Rob was picked up by the Radio 2000 Group and became Program Director and later Vice President of Programming USA. In the late 90’s, while running 3 music-driven radio stations in Springfield, Missouri, Rob had the opportunity to put together and launch, Southwest Missouri’s Regional Periodical, 417 Magazine. A publication that is still in circulation today. After selling his interests in Radio 2000 in the early 2000’s, Rob returned to his hometown of Jacksonville Beach, Florida to be near family. For 10 years he worked with the Clear Channel Radio Stations: Planet Radio and KISS-FM. In 2010, Rob took a hiatus from radio and went in to concert promotion and event planning, while also running the now 30 year old Beaches Hospitality Network – the organization that is well known for bringing the Superbowl, 2004 to the beaches area. When presented with the opportunity to work with Folio Weekly Magazine, Rob said, “there was no way I could resist an opportunity to work with the local, independent news magazine in the city I’m from. I can’t wait to get to work every morning”. Rob currently resides in North Jax Beach with his brother, Rich and dog, Tonka.