Ashley McBryde has made a big mark in her few short years on the national country music scene. The talented singer-songwriter has already earned four Grammy Awards nominations: two for Best Country Album — for her major-label debut, 2018's Girl Going Nowhere, and its follow-up, 2020's Never Will — plus Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance nods for the former's "Girl Goin' Nowhere."
McBryde's discography is deeper than those two projects, though. Prior to her mainstream rise, the singer also dropped an EP, 2016's Jalopies and Expensive Guitars, and an independent album, 2011's Elsebound.
McBryde won New Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2018 ACM Awards, and has earned ACM Female Artist of the Year and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nominations, too. A listen to any of her projects makes it easy to understand why. Read on to hear her five best songs (so far):
"Fat and Famous"From 'Jalopies and Expensive Guitars' EP (2016)
McBryde wrote "Fat and Famous" after being asked to perform at her high school class reunion, and to hear her tell the story is even funnier than the song itself (press play below to see what we mean). The catchy, upbeat track is a big "screw you" to the mean kids: "You got fat and I got famous / Ain't that funny how it changes? ... I got a Budweiser endorsement, you're refinancing your mortgage / How's it feel to make those payments? / You got fat and I got famous." Anyone who felt less-than-great about themselves in high school, rising country star or not, will smile.
"Girl Goin' Nowhere"From 'Girl Going Nowhere' (2018)
“Don’t waste your life on that guitar,” McBryde sings in the opening line of “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” a song inspired by a high school algebra teacher who told her that her dreams of songwriting and singing for a living were “stupid.” With this song, however, and with the album named for it, McBryde does the perfect job of proving that teacher -- and any of her doubters -- wrong.
"One Night Standards"From 'Never Will' (2020)
McBryde knew "One Night Standards" might ruffle some feathers, but, she admits, "I think the touchy subjects are okay to handle. I think it's alright to do 'em." She hopes that for every person who disapproves of the song, which McBryde co-wrote with Nicolette Hayford and Shane McAnally, another person relates to it.
"If it's uncomfortable, it's okay. The song is only three and a half minutes long," she points out with a smile. "It's okay to be uncomfortable for three and a half minutes."
"Bible and a .44"From 'Jalopies and Expensive Guitars' EP (2016)
“Bible and a .44” is one of the gentlest, most sincere songs in McBryde’s catalog, a quiet, understated love song for her terminally ill father. It's deeply personal, and McBryde tells Billboard that, to this day, “the song still makes [me] tear up.” We’re guessing it’ll have that affect on listeners, too.
"A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega"From 'Girl Going Nowhere' (2018)
“A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” was the lead single from Girl Going Nowhere, and one of McBryde's biggest songs yet. Critically praised, it was named one of the New York Times’ 54 Best Songs of 2017, and one of Rolling Stone’s Top 25 Best Country Songs of 2017. A story of hard times and hope found unexpectedly in a little dive bar in Dahlonega, Ga., it's 100-percent pure, good, vintage country.