Ashley McBryde is an absolute legend in the making,
One of the gnarliest, most authentic, most talented… I could go on forever but it’s amazing to see her finally getting paid what is her due. A CMA winner, an ACM winner, nominated for multiple Grammys, the awards are well deserved. And I’m sure there will be more to come.
But it wasn’t always like that…
In an interview with Radio.com’s Coop, Ashley was asked about the worst venue she’s ever played at, and as someone who struggles with playing shithole bars and clubs (aka the right way to do it ) cut out her teeth, she had more than a few she could name.
“We can actually talk about my top 5…well, one of the best fights I’ve ever seen took place at a bar in Loretta, KY called Cozy Corner.”
But one place stood above the rest…
“If you’re talking about THE WORST place I’ve ever made music I won’t tell you the name of the bar, just in case this adorable little shoot-n-bar is still open, I don’t want to around anyone to keep from ever going there.
But it was in the great state of Arkansas and had that name that suggested to me that they probably serve hot dogs. It’s like a cool sports bar; I booked it unseen. So I grabbed two friends and I was like, ‘Listen, I’ll buy your dinner, which is probably hot dogs and beer, if you go with me and help me carry all my stuff.'”
Gotta hit yelp Ashley, gotta hit yelp… I’m not going anywhere unless I check the menu first.
“We get there, you drive under this overpass, and then it’s super shady. I see an orange lit Miller Lite neon sign…everything else is boarded up from the inside. The door has no handle, it just says ‘knock’ on a piece of tape on the door.”
To be honest this place sounds amazing…
“So I knocked and a very nice gentleman named Dwayne opened the door and said, ‘Are you the entertainment?’ So I go in. These are very, very nice people, but I quickly realize what I’ve encountered.
I start loading my stuff onto the stage and the stage is carpeted and there’s a reclining barber chair right behind the DJ booth and I was like, ‘This is weird.’ Not nearly as strange as the mirrors on the back wall of the stage or the mast in the middle.
I accidentally signed up in an illegal bar, it’s a legal bar but it’s an illegal exotic dance area. I was scared for my life the whole time but turns out they were really wonderful people and the burgers were pretty good.
The shot glasses weren’t a shape I’d like to use again, but that’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me…I did a 4-hour show there.”
Oh boy, four hours at a hole in the wall biker bar strip club with penis shaped shot glasses?
But here’s the thing… she’s one of the most real in the game BECAUSE she’s played in places like this. You think half of these people get record deals because they blew up on TikTok, have you ever set foot in a bar like this? Hell, half of them have never played a live show anywhere.
You can’t fake authenticity, you have to earn it. And for Ashley, that means playing illegal strip clubs in Arkansas in hilariously awesome, borderline terrifying hole in the wall.
Exhibit A… their new album.
Ashley recently released her masterful collaborative concept album, Lindeville, and let’s just say you probably can’t write an album like this unless you’ve played places like… underground strip joints with decent burgers and cock-shaped shot glasses.
And God bless her for that.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/10/19/ashley-mcbryde-once-accidentally-booked-a-gig-at-an-illegal-strip-club-i-did-a-4-hour-show-there/ Ashley McBryde Once Accidentally Booked A Gig At An Illegal Strip Club: “I Did A 4-Hour Show There”