Ashley McBryde – Never Will (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 39:33 minutes | 491 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Warner Music Nashville
Ashley McBryde was madder than a hornet. When her brother Clay took his own life in the summer of 2018, she was left holding a ragged bag of emotions. She felt anger, more than anything, and it wasn’t until six months later that she began to understand why she felt that way.
In a songwriting session with go-to songwriter Nicolette Hayford (Steve Moakler, William Michael Morgan), McBryde originally wanted to write a song about “being members of the dead brother’s club,” she recalls of the song that would eventually become “Stone,” off her second major label album, Never Will (out April 3 on Warner).
“It’s a very dark humor and way of dealing with it,” she confides to American Songwriter over a phone call last week.
Eric Church has called Ashley McBryde his favorite new artist, and he’s sure to love the songwriter’s second album, which is stamped with Church hallmarks: clever, poetic lyrics, sizzling guitars and a marked lack of any unnecessary frills. In fact, he might be downright jealous of “One Night Standards,” with lines like “How it goes is/the bar closes/there’s no king bed covered in roses.” McBryde also shares Church’s love of outlaw culture on tracks like the honky-tonk “First Thing I Reach For” and headbanging “Voo Doo Doll.” And while country songs usually take the gospel as, well, gospel, on “Shut Up Sheila” a grieving McBryde dares to tell bible thumpers where they can shove their thoughts and prayers. The album runs the gamut from bittersweet ballads (“Sparrow”) to John Cougar-style hip-shakers (“Hang In There”), haunting O Brother, Where Art Thou? simplicity (“Velvet Red”) to the rocking “Martha Divine,” which echoes Jason Isbell. Throughout, there’s a streak of anger and pain over McBryde’s brother’s suicide; “Stone” is an absolute heartbreaker. Add it all up, and Never Will cements McBryde’s place on Music Row for a long time to come. – Shelly Ridenour
1. Ashley McBryde – Hang In There Girl
2. Ashley McBryde – One Night Standards
3. Ashley McBryde – Shut Up Sheila
4. Ashley McBryde – First Thing I Reach For
5. Ashley McBryde – Voodoo Doll
6. Ashley McBryde – Sparrow
7. Ashley McBryde – Martha Divine
8. Ashley McBryde – Velvet Red
9. Ashley McBryde – Stone
10. Ashley McBryde – Never Will
11. Ashley McBryde – Styrofoam