“There are two kinds of bands in our line of work,” Ashley McBryde told the crowd at Rams Head Live!, recently. “The ones that just go through the last few shows quickly, so they can just get it over with and go home. And then there’s bands that give everything they’ve got. And we are going to give you absolutely everything we’ve got before they kick us out of here.”
On “the 101st of 101 shows,” the Grammy and CMA award winning singer left it all on the stage in Baltimore.
Sometimes having no expectations about what you’re getting into can lead to something great. This was the first time for me seeing Ashley McBryde, but I know her work well. I’m a sucker for turns of phrase like “the first thing I reach for is the last thing I need” or “you’d think a girl on fire would step away from gasoline” from “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” or brilliant titles like “One Night Standards.” But as I discovered Saturday night she puts on a hell of a show too.
Ashley McBryde has been touring her most recent album, The Devil I Know, which was released this fall. She performed at Rams Head Live! on Dec. 16 for a date on that album’s tour. It’s a rocking album with some of her best work, in my humble opinion. It’s a varied record that pulls from her years of experience.
Things started at 11 with “Black Out Betty” from McBryde’s most recent LP, The Devil I Know — the driving beat and that heavy guitar refrain giving the foundation for an anthemic chorus. It was a little bit of country and a whole lot of rock and roll. There was even some, er, audience participation as during “Brenda Put Your Bra On,” several bras went flying up to the stage — eventually adorning the stage and some guitars — before being tossed back into the crowd.
An unreleased song that McBryde has been performing, “Rattlesnake Preacher,” came on slow with a with a hymn before becoming one of the heaviest grooves of the evening before morphing into “Made For This.” One of my favorites from The Devil I Know, “Made For This,” was clearly a favorite of most of the crowd as a huge cheer erupted as the opening riff sounded.
Taking a moment in between songs, Ashley McBryde told the crowd about moving from touring in a truck to a 12 and then 15 passenger van and an RV (“once an RV smells like feet it always smells like feet”). Though, she said, on this night they had upgraded to two buses and a semi-truck. All thanks, McBryde told the audience, to her fans.
Watch the official music video for “Light On In The Kitchen (Live)” by Ashley McBryde on YouTube:
While most of the evening’s set came from the new record, McBryde and her band did play “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.” It’s a song that, as she put it, was the first song they had on country radio, “long before I had a record deal.” And it was clearly one that the crowd was eager for as the band stopped so that the crowd sang the refrain before picking back up again.
Ashley McBryde finished the night with the single, “Light On In the Kitchen” and a knock-out “The Devil I Know.”
Ashley McBryde knows how to shake things up and give her fans a great time. It was an incredible show and one that, to paraphrase McBryde, gave her fans absolutely everything. Although the current leg of Ashley McBryde’s tour has come to an end, she and her band will be back on the road in the Spring of next year.
The setlist included:
One Night Standards
Brenda Put Your Bra On
Whiskey and Country Music
Single At The Same Time
Made for This
Girl Goin’ Nowhere
First Thing I Reach For
Cool Little Bars
Learned To Lie
Women Ain’t Whiskey
6th of October
Coldest Beer in Town
Tired of Being Happy
A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega
Light On In the Kitchen
The Devil I Know
Here are more photos of Ashley McBryde performing at Rams Head Live! on Dec. 16, 2023. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.
And here are photos of Chris Harris, opening for Ashley McBryde at Rams Head Live! on December 16, 2023.