“Hang in there girl, you’re gonna be alright” – Ashley McBryde’s sophomore album Never Will kicks off with an anthem for those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed during this awful pandemic. The reigning ACM New Female Artist of the Year and CMA New Artist of the Year has been a poster child for determination, beating adversity and overcoming challenges thrown her way. Her breakout hit and title track from her first album, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” put her on the map as a traditional country artist with a rocking soul and she continues the narrative with Never Will, released everywhere today.
Dabbling in ominous humor, putting her vices on display, one night stands and even covering up a murder, McBryde co-writing the majority of the tracks has stamped her signature on Never Will. The debut single from the project, “One Night Standards” set the tone, a no holds barred collection of songs that will engage both the traditionalists and the modern country fans.
Sonically, smattering electric guitars carry most of the major songs, (“Martha Divine”, “Never Will”) adding to McBryde’s thrilling live performance while more tender, acoustic moments like “Velvet Red” and “Stone” are a sincere look into the delicate stories of smalltown living on the former and the loss of her brother to suicide on the latter.
“Stone” one of the most somber yet poignant songs on the record flips grief on its head, similarly to Miranda Lambert’s “Over You”. Instead of coloring the song with sadness, she stays in the lines of anger and resentment that one may feel after losing someone they loved. “You taught me all about which ones sink and which ones skip / There’s throwing ones / And rolling ones / Getting us to open up was like getting blood from one / the stepping kind / The steady kind / The hey I’ve got your back ones you can stand behind.” Referencing the different stones one encounters throughout life, as well as the heartbreaking headstone.
McBryde addressed deciding to keep the April 3rd release date amidst all the uncertainty of these times, sharing with Tennessean “Music is the one thing that cannot be diminished, not by being quarantined, not by being indoors or outdoors. Music cannot be destroyed.”
The title track not only acts as an appropriate sequel to “Girl Goin’ Nowhere”, proving naysayers wrong about her career and her determination to remain authentic to herself but it showcases how her vocals command the listener. “They never did understand all the reasons we did it,” she sings, “I can point out the names and the faces of the people who said it / Oh but honestly I just don’t want ’em to get any credit.”
Wrapping the album with a silly yet heartfelt ode to all things “Styrofoam” McBryde shows a lighter side and her love for the container that keeps her beer cold. There is always the dreaded fear that most artists have of the ‘sophomore slump’, however, McBryde faces the challenge head-on, staking her claim that if you thought this girl was goin’ nowhere, you were wrong.
Never Will is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
- “Martha Divine”
- “Hang In There Girl” (Ashley McBryde, Jeremy Bussey)
- “One Night Standards” (Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally)
- “Shut Up Sheila” (Nicolette Hayford, Charles Chisholm)
- “First Thing I Reach For” (Ashley McBryde, Randall Clay, Mick Holland)
- “Voodoo Doll” (Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Brandy Clark, Connie Harrington, Jake Mitchell, Aaron Raitiere)
- “Sparrow” (Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Brandy Clark, Connie Harrington, Jake Mitchell, Aaron Raitiere)
- “Martha Divine” (Ashley McBryde, Jeremy Spillman)
- “Velvet Red” (Ashley McBryde, Patrick Savage, Daniel Smalley)
- “Stone” (Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford)
- “Never Will” (Ashley McBryde, Chris Harris, Blue Foley, Matt Helmkamp, Christian Sancho, Victor Quinn Hill)
- “Styrofoam” (Randall Clay)
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