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Songs make for powerful show for McBryde

The Wiltern, Los Angeles, October 5, 2021

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Ashley McBryde's recent horseback riding accident may have slowed her down a tad, but it couldn't keep this smart singer/songwriter from bringing her tough-girl country to town. She may not have been overly mobile, but there was more than enough sonic flexibility to make up for any physical limitations.

McBryde sang her signature song, "Girl Goin' Nowhere," with no introduction. Everyone knew it and sang along, though. She performs it with an acoustic guitar, but McBryde accompanies herself with an electric guitar more than most other female country performers. She also spoke more lovingly of the country music community than one might have expected. She, with all her tattoos, sometimes comes off as a kind of rebel inside the machine, even though she is actually more than happy to be a part of the Nashville community. She also knows her way around creating wonderfully memorable country songs, which included "First Thing I Reach For" and "One Night Standards" tonight. Her rocking band also rocked things up on "Voodoo Doll" and others.

Her set included a couple of noteworthy covers. One was the Brooks & Dunn hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," which she sang as a duet with her mandolinist/guitarist, and The Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider," which highlighted her Southern rock roots. While McBryde may have been a little more subdued than usual, fine songs kept her setlist powerful, from start to finish.

Opener Priscilla Block was a bit of a revelation to those not already familiar with her music. There were plenty of loud fans cheering her on, though. Block said many in the industry have told her she will need to lose weight, if she really wants to make it. Block defiantly refuses, though. In fact, she wrote "Thick Thighs" as commentary on her plus size. Furthermore, she covered "Truth Hurts," a song by Lizzo, the larger-than-usual pop singer. Other set highlights included "Wish You Were the Whiskey," which Block said she wrote for Jason Aldean (that he never recorded it) and "Peaked in High School," about getting a little post-high school revenge on the mean girls and guys from school days. Block is a talented singer, with a tight connection to her empathetic fans and is also 'a girl (seemingly) goin' nowhere' that's clearly going great places.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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