Ashley McBryde Traces Life Lessons on New Album ‘The Devil I Know’

“I started playing bars when I was 19 and definitely too young to be by myself, driving all over the f**king place and just being like, ‘I’ve never been in a city. This will be fine,’” McBryde tells Billboard. “The things I learned in those years, I wouldn’t trade for anything. They don’t make a college degree for things like that.”

The album’s focus track, “Light on in the Kitchen,” currently sits at No. 28 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, and sets the scene of late-night, heart-to-heart chats sitting around a dimly lit kitchen table. McBryde and co-writers Jessi Alexander and Connie Harrington drew on their own childhoods.

The Devil I Know will be released during a curious moment in country music — a time when country and country-adjacent songs from Morgan Wallen, Zach Bryan, Luke Combs and Oliver Anthony Music are setting records on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile, an array of songs from more organic-sounding artists like Bryan, Tyler Childers, Turnpike Troubadours and Dylan Gossett, as well as rock-tendered songs from Jelly Roll, HARDY and Warren Zeiders, and sleeker songs from Alana Springsteen, have all made forays onto various Billboard listings. And of course, Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” and Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” have both topped the charts while garnering both praise and backlash.

McBryde is gearing up to introduce her fans to more strains of what country music is and can be, when she launches her 30+ city The Devil I Know Tour in October. She will bring a unique array of opening acts, including “Wild as Her” hitmaker Corey Kent, Bella White, Will Jones, Harper O’Neill, Kasey Tyndall, Zach Top and JD Clayton.