Ashley McBryde Hilariously Recalls the Worst Venue She’s Ever Played: ‘I Booked It Sign Unseen’

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Ashley McBryde recently offered some insight into her latest single and shared the story behind one of the…


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 1, 2021


3:56 pm

Share on:

Ashley McBryde; Photo by Katie Kessel

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Ashley McBryde recently offered some insight into her latest single and shared the story behind one of the worst venues she’s ever played. 

In an interview with RADIO.COM, McBryde discussed her latest single and shared the unique inspiration behind the track. 

The title of her single, “Martha Divine,” comes from a Kentucky swimming hole that’s filled with urban legends. McBryde explained that while she fell in love with the name, she wasn’t too keen on the story that went along with that location so, she made up her own. 

“I don’t know if it’s saying too much, but there was some indiscretions in my family and there was a particular woman that I just really wanted to push down a flight of stairs, so I thought instead of saying her name, maybe I would just name her Martha Divine and we could just kind of ‘Jolene’ that song,” said McBryde in an interview with RADIO.COM’s Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night.

With states slowly beginning to reopen, McBryde will hopefully have the chance to return to the road and play “Martha Divine” for fans across the country. When she hits the road again, it’s safe to say there’s one venue she won’t be returning to.  

“I’m not gonna tell you the name of the bar just in case that delightful little shoot-n-stab is still open… it was in the great state of Arkansas and it had this name that suggested to me they probably serve hot dogs. It’s like a cool sports bar; I had booked it sight unseen.” McBryde shared. 

“So, I grabbed two friends and was like, ‘listen, I will buy your dinner which is probably hot dogs and beer, if you’ll go with me and help me carry all my stuff,’” she continued. “We get there, you go under this overpass, and then it’s super shady. I see one orange lit Miller Lite neon sign — everything else is boarded from the inside. The door doesn’t have a handle, it just says ‘knock’ on a piece of duct tape on the door.”

Upon entering this undisclosed location, McBryde realized it wasn’t the type of venue that she had in mind.

“I start loading my stuff to the stage, and the stage is covered in like, boot carpet and right past the DJ booth there is a barber’s chair leaned back and I thought, ‘that’s strange.’ Not nearly as strange as the mirrors on the back wall of the stage or the pole in the center. I have accidentally booked myself at an illegal, it’s a legal bar, but it’s an illegal exotic dance area! I was terrified for my life the entire time, but it turns out they were really wonderful people and the burgers were fairly good.”

Although the unusual situation didn’t turn out as expected, McBryde found the bright side and now, she has a great story to come for years. 

Share on:

Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.