The Devil I Know

The Devil I Know

An Ashley McBryde album is more than just a collection of songs. The acclaimed singer-songwriter creates entire worlds on her records, filling them with quirky characters, familiar places, and tall, tall tales, as especially evident on 2022’s Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville. With The Devil I Know, McBryde pairs some of that world-building with a bevy of musical influences, including bluegrass and rock ’n’ roll, that breathe an easy, expansive life into the project. Backed by her live band Deadhorse, McBryde sounds vibrant and electric, imbuing songs like the gut-wrenching “Learned to Lie” and the playfully clear-eyed “Coldest Beer in Town” with strength and raw emotion. As she shares with Apple Music, The Devil I Know is McBryde’s fullest expression of her artistry, and herself, yet. “I kept trying to—and others helped—pigeonhole myself into just being this, or just being this part of my identity,” she explains. “It feels so much better to just go, ‘Oh, it turns out I'm just a complete person, and this is what it looks like and this is what it smells like and this is how fast it can run. And it can't jump very high, but it's very entertaining.’” Below, McBryde shares insight into several key tracks. “Coldest Beer in Town” “Every bar has a sign that it's the ‘coldest beer in town,’ or it's the ‘best cheeseburger in town.’ And not every single one of them has that. And then you realize as you get older, so that was just like, ‘Hey, dude, if it's buy one, get one, the first one wasn't free.’ ‘I will love you forever’? It's not true. ‘I will move a mountain for you’ and ‘I'll never hurt your feelings'? Also a complete lie. But to be able to wrap all that up and just go, ‘Hey, it's cool. Every bar doesn't have the coldest beer.' You found something out today. Adorable.” “Learned to Lie” “I called Mom after we cut it and talked both her and my stepdad through the lyrics, and I said, ‘I just want you to know it's on the record. It's going to hurt, but it's not untrue. I didn't lie about anything.’ And she was very understanding about that. It's not that this song is only about me. Once a listener hears it, it's whatever you're drawing from. That is what the song is about, and if you had family members that behave that way. But it was difficult to look at that: ‘I wish I had learned how to love the same way I learned how to lie.’” “Single at the Same Time” “Nobody in the song is going to cheat. They're just saying, ‘I wonder what would've happened.’ My favorite thing so far about this song is playing it in an intimate setting, whether we're playing it off the record for someone to listen to or I'm playing it live. When you play it for a group of 20, 30 people, watch their faces and find out who has one of those [relationships]. And when that person crosses their mind, the look that's on their face and the way their shoulders change, and even if they're just thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I could've said that to him at some point. We could've had that conversation.’” “Cool Little Bars” “I don't know which work tape Jay [Joyce] got, but he thought this was a sad song and he hated it. I'd hate it too if it was a sad song and I'm like, ‘Why are we setting it up this way?’ Then we go in to really make the record, and I said, ‘I don't know why you don't like this song.’ He was like, ‘It's so sad.’ I said, ‘It's not a sad song at all. This is like a hell yeah kind of a feeling.’ He said, ‘Well, I'll tell you what, why don't you sit down, just grab a guitar and sit down. Let's all sit in a circle. Teach me the song like we're on your porch and see if I get it.’ He looks at Chris [Harris] and he said, ‘Grab a bouzouki. Quinn [Hill], grab whatever you want.’ Quinn grabbed the tiniest little djembe that he had under his armpit. He threw Matt Helmkamp a resonator guitar. He was like, ‘Just play that on a res. Let's jam porch-style on this.’ And we did.” “6th of October” “The very first line of the ‘6th of October’ is ‘I threw up this morning in Christiansburg, VA.’ So at the time, [co-writers] CJ Field and Blue Foley and myself were at my house. This is back when I lived out in the middle of the woods, and we had a co-writer and best friend, Randall Clay, and this is probably six or eight months after he passed away. And we are on the porch to write together—we're not going to write about Randall, we just want to invite his spirit to be with us. He's just the most amazing songwriter that I had ever had the pleasure of writing with. And CJ's like, ‘Man, this one time I pulled into Randall's driveway, and he was in his underwear and a T-shirt and he was smoking. He had socks on, on the porch.’ And I just threw out this line, and he took a drag, before he even blew the smoke all the way out of his lungs, he finished the line.”

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