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Ashley McBryde wants country music fans to think for themselves Grand Ole Opry

Ashley McBryde’s new album, “Girl Going Nowhere,” is out March 30, and the songs are heavily influenced by her upbringing in Arkansas. Life in her hometown didn’t always look like the small town good times you hear many country artists singing about on the radio. One song on the project, “Livin’ Next to Leroy,” tells the story of a guy providing a safe place for young addicts in a small town. It includes the line, “In the dark side of the country, it ain’t bonfires, it ain’t beer.”

Ashley tells “Rolling Stone,” “Where I’m from, there are two things to do after a certain age: make babies or make meth. I don’t think anybody else is willing to talk about it.”

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Her music goes a long way in shattering the illusions of small town life built up in mainstream country hits.

“In country music, we spend a lot of time talking about beer and having fun and bonfires, but there’s a big meth problem with our listeners and our companions, and it deserves to be spoken about,” she says. “There is this great party side to being from a rural area, and from being in country music, but there’s also this other animal that exists among us all the time. A secret gets bigger and nastier the longer you don’t talk about it. The sooner you do talk about it, it can become a shadow of what it once was.”

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Ashley adds, “Country music fans have been spoon-fed music for years, like, ‘This is great: eat it.’ But there’s this other part out there.”

Do yourself a favor and spend some time digging into Ashley McBryde’s world. Her new album will definitely make you think.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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