NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde had a whole cast of colorful characters that lived in her songs, as well as the songs of her friends, and now she has a city to let them flourish.
The award-winning Arkansas singer and a group of her songwriter pals created Lindeville (LIN’-dee-vill), a nod to the late songwriter Dennis Linde, who wrote original songs focused on the characters like “Goodbye Earl”.
“Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville,” out now, is a collaborative concept album that McBryde and his friends created to give a home to small-town misfits and their sometimes drunk and half-naked escapades. In the fictional town of McBryde, there’s the Dandelion Diner, the Forkem Family Funeral Home, the Dennis Linde Ballpark, Ronnie’s Pawnshop, and of course, a Food City. And there are songs about Pete, the Vietnamese vet who takes care of the ball field; Patti, who works at the strip club where they host a gospel night; and Tina, who caught her man, Marvin, cheating and beat up this girl who works in Sun Tan City.
“It’s a fictional town, but it’s also every little town you’ve been to,” McBryde said. “We have this really cool cattle trailer full of really interesting characters.”
His co-writers on the concept album include Aaron Raitiere, Connie Harrington, Brandy Clark, Benjy Davis and Nicolette Hayford, and features guest vocalists Brothers Osborne, Caylee Hammack and Pillbox Patti.
With nods to radio plays like “A Prairie Home Companion,” McBryde and his team crafted scripts rich in detail with a John Prine level of empathy and compassion. There are mysteries that leave listeners perplexed, stories that give people depth and redemption, and killer one-liners that are both explicit and hilarious. The tattooed singer has earned a reputation as a creative risk-taker in country music and on ‘Lindeville’ she encouraged everyone on the project to take the songs wherever they needed to go, no matter how dark or different or not. suitable for radio.
“There’s definitely a different level of freedom and a bit of recklessness because, #1, it’s a collaboration. It’s a community-driven thing that requires multiple voices and multiple brains,” McBryde said. “But also, we had no intention of getting it on the radio, which frees up a lot more, especially in terms of language. Because sometimes, I mean, you have to use secular language to make get the message in. And if that’s where the truth is, then that’s where it ought to be.
John Osborne of the duo Brothers Osborne produced the album, which includes commercial jingles McBryde sings for the various Lindeville businesses. “When you meet your maker, we’ll be your undertaker,” McBryde sings of the town’s funeral home.
McBryde, who has five nominations for this year’s CMA Awards, says she felt inspired by the character study concept albums Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein made in the ’70s that have become classics. “Having love projects like this, they don’t happen very often in country music,” McBryde said. “And so even though it’s not a big part of our country’s tradition, it’s a rare part. It’s one that I’m extremely proud to keep the torch burning.
Follow Kristin M. Hall on https://twitter.com/kmhall
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.