Ashley McBryde is a girl after my own heart… she loves sad country songs more than just about anybody.
And if you follow Whiskey Riff in any capacity, then you know how much all of us here love them, too.
And since some of my favorite artists in the genre right now have written some of my very favorite sad songs that hurt so good, I wanted to know what some of their favorite’s were that inspired them to write soul-crushing music just like George, Willie, Merle, Waylon and all the other country greats.
So far for in our Sad Country Songs series, we’ve heard some great picks from the likes Whiskey Myers frontman Cody Cannon, Miranda Lambert, Riley Green, Randall King, Parker McCollum, Ben Burgess, and today, Ashley is giving us her pick.
She actually chose the same song as her friend Carly Pearce, “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” by Patty Loveless, and I’m starting to think we need to get a duet from these two of it now:
“‘You Don’t Even Know Who I Am’ by Patty Loveless, although I could probably list 12 without having to give it much thought. Sad songs are part of how you initially fall in love with country music.
It’s a point of connection unlike anything else on the planet. But if I need to grab a go-to and just hurt real damn good, I go to this one. Even as a kid, this song tied my guts up in knots in the best way, and it’s never lost its sting, not even a little bit.
And Miss Patty’s voice…it doesn’t get any more country or emotion filled than that. The picture that first verse creates. The line ‘she left her key in the door.’
It still gives me the same feeling: some hurt is about to go down on all sides and there’s no avoiding it.”
Written by written by Gretchen Peters, it was released in 1995 as the third single from Patty’s 1994 When Fallen Angels Fly album.
And it’s a stone cold heartbreaker, where she tells the story of two people in a marriage that has no love left, as they realized they’ve grown apart over time and don’t even really know each other anymore.
Ashley added that the feeling of connection in these songs is “as powerful as sorcery,” saying that feeling of not being so alone for three minutes is undeniably what draws us to them so strongly:
“Three minutes of freedom from our own hurt. Being able to sit it down alongside someone else’s hurt. And just be less lonely about it.
It’s that that allows you as a songwriter to write unafraid. Because if it’s something you’re going through and you got to get it out, chances are high that you’re not the only one needing that release right now.
And you’d better get your ass to doing the work, ‘cause you ain’t the only one holding their breath about it.”
Ashley is such a gem… there’s a reason she’s made a name for herself as one of the premiere artists and writers in country music: she’s as honest and authentic as they come.
Gonna go turn this up and cry now…
And in terms of her own specific music career, Ashley says sad country songs are a massive part of the reason she started out in this business:
“My God I love writing songs. I’d give credit to every sad country song that ever crossed my ears for making me into a songwriter.
Country music overall, but especially sad songs, are the performer or the writer airing their less than desirable feelings or situations for all to take part in and gifting us that freedom from hurting alone.
I’m so blown away by the power of it, and I am just so grateful for it.”
Of course, I won’t leave you today without recommending one of my favorite sad songs of Ashley’s, and one that’s been at the top of my list for almost two years now is her Grammy-winning duet with Carly Pearce, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl”:
And if you really wanna get in your feels, check out our Sad Country Songs Make Me Happy playlist.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify.
Listen on Apple Music.