Ashley McBryde’s “The Jacket” Is An Underrated, Personal Gem

Daniel Meigs

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times, Ashley McBryde is one of, if not the, most underrated artist in country music.

We know she’s got a powerhouse of a voice (exemplified no better than on “Voodoo Doll”) and a great combination of a big heart and don’t give a shit attitude, but what I believe really sets her apart is her songwriting ability and the courage to open herself up and put the raw emotions she feels and maybe even doesn’t fully understand into her songs.

One of the topics that comes up often in her writing is the close, but tough relationship she had with her father, best described in an interview she did with CBS in 2019. “Bible And A .44” is the obvious first song that comes to mind when thinking of songs about her father, but there’s another that gives us more background on the man Ashley admires so much.

“The Jacket” tells us all about her father through the lens of his favorite denim jacket, where it went, what it did, how it made him and those around him feel.

Anyone who has that favorite shirt, or hat, or their own jacket gets it. It gives more depth to the man who Ashley looks up to more than anyone.

“This thing is two-thousand bonfires, I hitchhiked to Boulder
It’s kept a million raindrops off your mama’s shoulders
My heart on my sleeve, my life in these patches
Then he wrapped his arms around me in that old
Jean jacket

It’s been a bed for a hound-dog, a picnic blanket
There’s blood on the collar from a punk who tried to take it from me
Seen Willie Nelson play four or five states
The best thing Levi ever made

The specificity and detail of it hit home and after just one listen, you understand who Mr. McBryde was.

We strung for miles of barbed wire in Corinth, Mississippi
A night in county jail with an old drunk and a hippy
It’s my heart on the sleeve, it’s my life in these patches
With his arms wrapped around me in that old
Jean jacket”

Sadly, the actual jean jacket the song was written about was stolen from her car in an East Nashville parking lot and was never found.

While Ashley says she’s at peace with it now, but that’s such a heartbreaking thing to have one of the major things your dad left you stolen by some asshole.

Ashley has stepped up her game with each album released, and I already cannot wait for the next record to come out…

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