Review By Jem
Ashley McBryde has carved a special place in the hearts of a lot of people with her raw and authentic musicality.
In ‘The Devil I Know,’ McBryde’s latest album, she delivers her strongest work yet. The lyrics cut deeper than ever before, and with her recent milestone of a year of sobriety, one can’t help but wonder if some tracks delve into her past struggles. It’s a testament to her resilience that the album while touching on dark themes, isn’t bleak but rather resonates with an unfiltered authenticity.
The opening track, ‘Made For This,’ encapsulates the joys and pains of a performer’s nomadic lifestyle, marrying rocking guitar riffs and country twang with frantic drums, mirroring the adrenaline rush of live gigs. ‘Coldest Beer In Town’ shifts to acoustic tones, painting a vivid picture of life’s bitter realities, paradoxically celebrated in a joyous melody.
‘Light On In The Kitchen’ delivers a heartwarming message about leading a fulfilling life, its simplicity enhanced by Jay Joyce’s stunning production. ‘Women Ain’t Whiskey’ seamlessly blends rock vibes with acoustic instrumentation, conveying a powerful message about respecting women.
The album’s authenticity is amplified by Joyce’s decision to use the artists’ own backing bands instead of session musicians, lending a live and honest feel. ‘The Devil I Know’ balances acoustic gentleness with a powerhouse chorus, destined to be a live favourite.
‘Single At The Same Time’ explores missed connections with poignant beauty, showcasing McBryde’s impeccable vocals. ‘Cool Little Bars’ touches on disappearing small-town gems, while ‘Whiskey and Country Music’ delves into the solace found in classic tunes amidst heartache.
‘Blackout Betty’ bravely tackles alcoholism’s dark depths, its hard-edged guitars emphasizing the haunting lyrics. ‘6th October’ closes the album with a poignant tribute, shining light amid potential darkness.
This album exemplifies the best of modern country music – honest, powerful, and real. McBryde’s prowess lies in her ability to defy Nashville’s corporate norms yet resonate deeply with audiences. ‘The Devil I Know’ is a testament to her artistry and a must-listen for anyone craving authentic storytelling.
For those eager to witness McBryde’s magic live, her upcoming tour in early 2024 promises an unforgettable experience. In the realm of country music, Ashley McBryde stands tall as one of the fines of the last few years