Ashley McBryde is one of the hottest names among female country music artists right now. Her raw songwriting resonates with fans as she tells stories we can all relate to. But more than just relating to her audience, Ashley goes where few in the mainstream country music world are willing to go.
Dripping with unapologetic and unfiltered honesty, she’s as authentic as gets in this business…. and “authentic” is the trendy, buzzword that everybody loves to throw around right now, but when it comes to Ashley McBryde, it couldn’t be more on the nose.
And The Devil I Know might be her most raw project thus far…
She took to Instagram, highlighting some of the incredible lyrics you can find throughout the album to celebrate its release.
“I used to drink too much. Though most of the places where I used to show my ass, don’t exist anymore.
Nearly everyone you talk to is tryin’ to sell you a bill of goods… or just straight up lying to ya.
I once fell in love with a really good friend of mine…
I’m keenly aware of how damn complicated we all are… how who we have been ain’t who we are right now and who we are gonna be ain’t even worried about any of the other us’s we’ve been and I’m in a spot where I’m not only at peace with these facts, I’m celebrating the shit out of them… and learning to live in the rhythm…
She came out of the gate swinging with the lead single, wrestling with the conflicting opinions of others that are in her head and learning to be comfortable with who you are.
“We can’t wait for you to dig into these songs that found a home on The Devil I Know. Every decision that went into it had to pass a gut check, and I’m proud to say this entire record does just that.
Thanks for coming along with us on this journey – we’re so glad you’re here.”
The whole album addresses the take and give that comes with accepting your vices, trying to become a better person, the struggles of life, love, and more. Filled with profound storytelling and more traditional production (with Jay Joyce’s signature rock flare) that harkens back to the days of old, Ashley may have once again outdone herself.
While it is well worth the complete listen-through, here are my standouts.
Released as a single, “Learned To Lie” is a heartbreaking love song. The slow melodies highlight the painful lyrics of coping with an unhealthy relationship and learning to lie to yourself that it feels okay when it is not. The chorus:
“I, I learned to cry Quietly, I learned to pray Silently, inside a house where the Devil played And I, hate that it runs in my blood I hate how easy it comes I wish I’d learned how to love the same way I Learned to Lie…”
Punches you in the gut.
“Whiskey And Country Music” is the definition of a damn good country song. The song embodies the phrase we love here at Whiskey Riff: “Sad Country Songs and Make Me Happy.”
The lyrics highlight that country music and a stiff drink can cure many aches when you are down. The song’s end sounds like a jukebox shutting down, and it’s the perfect honky tonk ode to wrap up the track.
“6th of October” is a stunning acoustic track about a lost soul trying to find her way away from the bottle and a boy.
The words shine brightly in this track as McBryde sings:
“I’ve been saying I was sober Since the sixth of October But all that was over When I heard him say There’s a friend you been missin’ With a fifth in the kitchen We started sippin’ and he faded away…”
“Made For This” takes the road life off the pedestal most people put it on. McBryde is genuine and honest about the non-glamorous sides of touring nonstop and being away from your family.
This lifestyle is not for everyone; if anyone was “Made For This,” it’s McBryde.
The Devil I Know is one of McBryde’s most honest pieces of work yet. Simply put… the album lives up to the badass persona that McBryde has made for herself.