Radio Or Not, Here Comes Ashley McBryde

photo: Daniel Meigs

It sure would be swell if those bastards at corporate country radio would play some of Ashley McBryde’s songs. After all, she’s sent some gems their way that would really gussy up the airwaves. “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” and “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” are some of the most touching tracks to be released on a major label in quite a while, but they only managed a whimper at radio, coming in at #30 and #40 respectively. McBryde’s latest single “One Night Standards” from her upcoming new album is pretty darn solid too, but has also stalled at radio, despite a valiant push from her label Warner Music Nashville—one of the things some mainstream women don’t always enjoy with their radio singles.

But screw it. If Ashley McBryde can’t make it on radio, she will find some other way to get her music to the people. Just like Kacey Musgraves did with her record Golden Hour—which despite radio’s non participation still found its way through the noise to critical acclaim—Ashley McBryde has taken her quality songs and almost universal favorability that crosses the line between mainstream and independent, and turned it into awards show nominations and hardware that has side stepped the radio paradigm and put her straight in front of listeners.

Competing in a field with multiple radio-supported stars like Morgan Wallen and Midland, Ashley McBryde walked away with the CMA’s 2019 New Artist of the Year award last week, surprising many. But this was not her first awards recognition. You may forget, but Ashley McBryde also won the ACM’s New Female Vocalist of the Year back in April, and was nominated for the Grammy for Best Country Album last year. Then this week her song “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” picked up 2020 Grammy nominations for Best Country Song, and Best Country Solo Performance. Radio might not be paying attention to Ashley McBryde, but the voting public is.

And they’re not alone. A while back Luke Combs announced the opening 10 dates on his 2020 What You See Is What You Get tour, and has tapped Ashley McBryde as an opener. This pairing will put McBryde on a big stage and in front of the kind of audience that will find appeal in her music. She also just announced nine dates on her own One Night Standards tour to go along with a slew of other dates she already has on the calendar, and multiple festival appearances next summer.

Radio play is nice and all, and usually essential if your a major label artist. But it’s not the only way forward. Giving too much credence to that dying medium is foolish, while the independent radio stations around the country and world who don’t report into mainstream country’s radio charts tend to support Ashley McBryde and others just fine. Artists like Ashley McBryde are proving there’s other ways forward that aren’t spending 6 or 7 figures on radio promotional campaigns only to have major radio still not play your single. You can sit around and cuss all day about the silliness and inequality of country radio, or you can roll up your sleeves and get to work on a better alternative.

The best stuff tends to find its way to the surface, regardless of the obstacles put in its way, especially if an artist is dogged and determined and talented as Ashley McBryde. Radio might not be there for her, but the grassroots are, and from traditionalists, to Americana fans, to Eric Church’s country rock listeners, they like what they hear from Ashley McBryde, even if they don’t hear it on the radio.

Opening Dates with Luke Combs:

Feb. 7 – Columbia, MO – Mizzou Arena
Feb. 8 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center
Feb. 13 – University Park, PA – Bryce Jordan Center
Feb. 14 – Lexington, KY – Rupp Arena
Feb. 15 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
April 18 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
April 19 – Colorado Springs, CO – Broadmoor World Arena
April 21 – Las Cruces, NM – Pan American Center
April 24 – Corpus Christi, TX – American Bank Center
April 25 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center

New Ashley McBryde Headliner Dates:

Jan. 30 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
Jan. 31 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
Feb. 28 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
Feb. 29 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
March. 7 – Indianapolis, IN – 8 Seconds Saloon
March 19 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
March 21 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
March 28 – Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen
April 23 – Helotes, TX – Floore’s Country Kitchen