Ashley McBryde’s latest album is called “Girl Going Nowhere,” highlighted by the single, “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.”
But this weekend, her career belies the title of that album and that song. Her “nowhere” is Las Vegas, and the little dive bar has been overtaken by T-Mobile Arena.
“When I wrote that album, I wasn’t thinking this would happen,” says McBryde, opening for George Strait on Friday and Saturday nights in his “Strait to Vegas” concert residency at T-Mobile. “I just thought it would make a difference for a lot of people. It did for me.”
Strait is providing McBryde 45-minute sets in the first of three weekend support performances at T-Mobile. “That’s so generous, so nice, because you usually get 20 minutes and you’re off.’”
A few memorable moments from my chat with the Nashville-based artist this week:
She played Route 91 in 2017: McBryde was a featured performer at the Next From Nashville stage on Sept. 29, the festival’s opening night during the event that ended with the tragic Oct. 1 shooting. She also performed on the main stage with Brothers Osborne that night. After being asked if she would take part in the festival’s return — and organizers do want to bring it back to the Strip on Las Vegas Resorts Festival Grounds, she said, “I would absolutely play it again.”
Opening for Strait was an “automatic” decision: “Usually when we get an offer as a support act, I read a text and we decide what we want to do,” McBryde said. “Not this time. My touring manager just said, ‘You’ve got six dates with George Strait in Vegas. I was like, ‘You’re kidding me? I’m not sure why the gods are smiling for us. This isn’t just a treat, it’s an honor.”
Her first visit was a gig at South Point Showroom: This was in conjunction with the PBR World Finals in November 2016. “I got to Vegas and didn’t know what to do with myself,” McBryde said. “I went to the Neon Boneyard, which was so fun to be in the middle of a bunch of history. I loved it. Then i went and gambled on roulette and of course, lost everything. That’s my memory of Vegas — playing the PBR, Neon Boneyard and losing my ass at roulette. It’s the whole Vegas experience.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter,@JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.