Ashley McBryde Can Find a Way to Entertain You

Ashley McBryde picked up the new artist trophy at the CMA Awards this week, even without a radio hit to her credit. The good-natured newcomer fielded questions from reporters backstage in the CMA press room.

Q: Can you talk about winning tonight and this award? In particular being part of this show that is celebrating women?

McBryde: I was already excited about the show tonight. I was excited to watch the show tonight and always react like someone who’s sitting in the pit at a concert rather than someone who’s sitting at an award show. So to be celebrated tonight by my peers in a night that’s all about celebrating the chicks in country music is a really special thing.

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Talk to all those little girls out there watching a girl goin’ nowhere become the CMA New Artist of the Year tonight.

Girls, this thing’s heavy and you’ll feel really good carrying it around. It’s never too early to start doing what you want to do. It’s never too late to start doing what you want to do either. So just don’t forget the only person that can stop you is you. So don’t tell yourself no, because everybody else is going to do that for you.

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Your single is “One Night Standard.” Women in country music have been singing about sex since Loretta. Do you still feel there is a taboo?

Oh, yeah. It was taboo then. And they did it. And it’s taboo now. And we do it. And that’s why we do it, because it’s taboo. It’s like having too many tattoos. I don’t know. I think the touchy subjects are OK to handle. I think it’s all right to do it. If it’s uncomfortable, it’s OK. The song is only three and a half minutes long. It’s OK to be uncomfortable for three and a half minutes. …

In fact, when we finished writing “One Night Standards,” I looked at Shane McAnally and I said, “I hope I can cut it. I would love to. And I don’t know if they’ll let me.” And he said, “You have to. You’re the only woman with the balls to do it.” And then I was like, “Well, that’s a compliment. I think.”

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I’ve seen you in a lot of the little clubs throughout the Midwest, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky. And we’ve talked about the fact that you felt very comfortable in those nightclubs. This new artist award is kind of a tribute to that.

Oh, I love little clubs. I live dove bars, biker bars, trucker bars. I love doing that stuff. That’s the hardest work you’ll really ever do, because you’ve got a roomful of 60 people that don’t give a crap if you’re playing a guitar or not, or whether you’re a radio or a jukebox.

And you can get that one guy to start to bob in his head and turn round on the bar stool. And then the next guy turns around and then you got the room. That’s really similar, not even close to this scale, but really similar to that feeling of “I gotcha.” I can find a way to entertain you.