March 27, 2020

Outsiders Radio: Episode #61

AIR DATE: March 2020

SHOW THEME: Ashley McBryde


Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the sixty-first episode of “Outsiders Radio.”  When last we spoke…we were talking about Country 2 Country.  Funny how life throws you a curve!  I was literally heading to the airport, about to fly to the UK, when we got word that the festival had been postponed.  We hope you’re all safe and healthy.  So now we’re all on lockdown for the next few weeks.  Lotta bad news, so maybe it’s time for a break.



It’s nice to hear applause again.  With the live music scene on pause for a few months, it’s a good time to spotlight some new music.  There are a bunch of new albums coming out in the next few weeks. One in particular we’re going to focus on is “Never Will” by my friend Ashley McBryde.  Three years ago, we did this song together in Chicago.



Since that day in Chicago 3 years ago, Ashley McBryde has racked up a bunch of Grammy nominations, and she’s the CMA New Artist of the Year.  She has a new album out next week.  She’d like to get out and promote the new music, but she’s stuck in her Nashville home.


Ashley: Well we’re still in the wake of the tornadoes that just ravaged Nashville and to make matters worse, the coronavirus is becoming a real problem, so we’re all self-quarantining in our homes, trying to keep healthy. So now you have a whole community of creative songwriters with their hands tied sitting in their homes, which is a really good time to listen to music.


Before we get to Ashley’s new music, let’s hear more about the Nashville tornado.


Ashley: I moved to East Nashville at the end of January, just in time for this tornado to hit. For some reason my street was spared. I was home when it hit, I woke up, I heard the hail, and I woke up the next day to the devastation. Then we picked back up to go on tour. The only way we had to help was to raise money, so we did.


Ashley played a benefit concert a few weeks ago with Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow, and more that raised an estimated half a million dollars.  There’s also an album titled “Nashville Strong,” benefiting the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.  The album has 21 songs, including “One Night Standard” by our featured artist this week Ashley McBryde.



We’re spotlighting “Never Will,” the new album by Ashley McBryde on this edition of Outsiders Radio.  The album will be available on April 3rd.  This is Ashley’s second album, and she had more time to make it than the first.


Ashley: On the first record we had two nights to make the record, on the second we had 14 days.  So we knew we could stretch our legs on this one. Some of the songs were written 7-8 years ago, and some were written 2 weeks before we made the record.  It was fun to see how many songs that we knew we really wanted on the project.  The band & I went to the co-op building the same way we did for the first album. We played through these songs together, arranged them in real time. As we did, some songs I knew belonged on the record didn’t belong on the record. Some songs I didn’t have an idea would pop up and raise their hand and suddenly belong on the record.



That’s country music right there: The First Thing I Reach For by Ashley McBryde.  We’ll get back to her new album “Never Will” in a bit. Last year, Ashley got a chance to tour and sing with Miranda Lambert.


Ashley: Touring wise, no one has ever shown me or been a better example of how to treat people than Miranda. Miranda has this other sense about her. My first night on that tour, I got a gift bag, and it’s not frivolous things, it’s dry shampoo, baby wipes, and shower shoes, that she personalizes for everybody on the tour. Mine say Dive Bar.  When she asked me to do Fooled Around & Fell in Love, I already loved that song. Then I found out it’s Miranda, me, Maren, Tenile Townes, and Ell King. I’ve been manifesting for over a year that I could sing with Ell King. Then I get to sing and tour with her, thanks to Miranda. Miranda has this way of bringing strong women together who in no way feel they’re in competition with each other.



Miranda Lambert and an all-star group of women on the Elvin Bishop classic Fooled Around & Fell In Love. Our featured artist Ashley McBride toured with Miranda last year.  She also did shows with George Strait.  Ashley said it was her first time doing a show “in the round.”


Ashley: We did 6 shows in the round with George Strait at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this past year. The first time, we looked like scared little lab mice and didn’t know where to go in the maze. The second time our equipment was better, and our show was better, and from then on we knew how to use that stage. It’s a little squirrely getting around other peoples equipment. But you get to perform at four different corners, there’s no predicting anything. Basically it’s a fire drill. You kinda know what you’re supposed to do. It’s a really interesting way to do a show.




That’s the king right there, George Strait.  I’m Eric Church and I’m previewing the new album by Ashley McBryde called “Never Will” this week on Outsiders Radio.  Ashley wrote one of the songs with my good buddy Jeremy Spillman.


Ashley: He’s from somewhere in Kentucky, I’m from somewhere in Arkansas, and we started swapping urban legends. Jeremy says Salt Peter Cave and Martha Devine swimming hole. So I asked about Martha Devine and none were good song ideas. Too gruesome. But I liked the name Martha Devine…she sounds like a tramp. Coming where I come from, there were some indiscretions in my father’s life I was aware of. There’s been cheating songs from the cheater, or the cheated, but not from the child. I thought no one was going to let me put it on the record or make a video, and both of those things happened, and writing with him is a treat.



That’s Ashley McBryde and a she wrote with my buddy Jeremy Spillman about Martha Devine.  It’s on Ashley’s new album “Never Will,” available April 3rd.  We asked Ashley to pick her favorite song from the album.


Ashley: If I only get 3-1/2 minutes with you, and you only get to hear one song from this record, I would want you to hear Sparrow. That song was written on a writer’s retreat, Brandi Clark is in attendance. You’re supposed to split up on a writer’s retreat, but we never split up. On April 22nd, we wrote two songs: VooDoo Doll and Sparrow. It was so much fun, really turned out cool. Me & Brandi were trying to come up with the first line, and we started with “telephones and postcards,” and I said ‘How’s the okra coming up,’ and Brandi said ‘Just say it that way.’ So it’s all honest. I really do eat my mother’s okra.



That’s Ashley McBryde and a song from her new album Never Will.  We began our feature on Ashley playing my take on her song Bible & A 44.  I’m not the only one who likes that song.  Last fall, Trisha Yearwood recorded it on her album “Every Girl.”


Ashley: I found out that Trisha cut Bible & A 44 on Twitter when someone said ‘No way Trisha Yearwood doing Bible & 44, are you kidding me?’  No only did she cut it, but she had Patty Loveless sing on it. OK there’s two of my reasons I even sing country music.  We were playing a show with Brooks & Dunn in Allentown PA. We get on the bus, it was midnight, and we listened to Trisha Yearwood sing Bible & 44. My mandolin player Chris just starts laughing. He says ‘Do you realize this year we did 6 shows with George Strait, you’re on an album with Brooks & Dunn, we just got off the stage with Brooks & Dunn, and now we’re listening to Trisha Yearwood & Patty Loveless sing a song you made up.  This is the 1990-est moment ever.’



Some of the greatest female singers of all time there: Trisha Yearwood & Patty Loveless with their version of a song written by Ashley McBryde: A Bible & A 44.  As we said, Ashley had an amazing year in 2019.  She ended it New Year’s Eve in Nashville.


Ashley: I’m standing on a stage with Keith Urban and Stevie Nicks and I’m doing a Wynonna Judd song, of course I love the 90s.  I’ve been doing No One Else On Earth since I was 21 in bars. I did it that night, and on the way back, the first call I get in 2020 was Wynonna Judd. She says ‘Hey I heard you sang my song for New Year’s, that’s awesome.’  Then we did the Standards tour and looked for an encore, No One Else on Earth is one of those iconic country songs that will make you sing along. It went over well on New Years, Miss Wynonna was happy about it, so we added it to the show, it’s one of the encores.



I want to thank my guest Ashley McBryde for joining me this week on Outsiders Radio. Her new album is called “Never Will,” and it’ll be available on April 3rd. On another subject, you may recall that I took part in a big Willie Nelson tribute show last year.  That show will air Sunday April 12th on the A&E Channel.  It was an incredible night, with performances by George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and many more. Here’s Lyle Lovett from that night:


Lyle: It’s just fun, it’s just fun to be here, the band’s incredible, Don Was, Matt Rollins, I met him when he was 18, he’s played on every record I’ve made, to be around all these performers, Willie brings people together like no one can. To walk up and down the hallway is incredible.


Also there that night: Susan Tidechi & her husband Derek Trucks:


Susan: We’re doing City Of New Orleans, and Derek is playing on a song with Willie & Chris Stapleton, they’re doing Always On My Mind. It’s gonna be a fun night, there’re gonna be a lotta people playing that I’m gonna be sitting out front watching, lotta heroes in the house tonight. There are a lot of amazing people here tonight.


Once again, be sure to watch Willie Nelson: American Outlaw Sunday April 12th on A&E.  A few weeks later, Willie will turn 87.  So happy birthday to Willie!  Stay safe and healthy, folks.  I’m Eric Church and I’ll see you next time on Outsiders Radio.