Ashley McBryde Takes Listeners to Small-Town America with Her New Album ‘Lindeville’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: Katie Kauss via Essential Broadcast Media PR)

Usually, artists announce their new albums months ahead of the release day. Ashley McBryde decided to skip the long wait. She announced this collaborative project two weeks ago. That was only the start of this short and unique album cycle, though. Most artists release singles to preview their new album, but McBryde opted to skip that as well. Instead, she shared snippets of most of the songs from the album on her social media.

It wasn’t the typical rollout for an album, to be sure. However, that’s fitting. Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville isn’t a typical album. If you let it, this record will take you on a trip to a small, fictional town somewhere in Arkansas. Make no mistake, this isn’t Mayberry or some other idyllic little hamlet. No. Lindeville is the kind of real small town that you’ll find peppered across the United States. It’s a little gritty, a little trashy, and all of the residents have skeletons in their closets. They’re good folks, though, for the most part. McBryde, Pillbox Patti (Nicolette Hayford), Caylee Hammack, Aaron Raitiere, Brandy Clark, and Benjy Davis bring this town and its inhabitants to life.

Ashley McBryde isn’t the only singer on this album. In fact, her collaborators often take lead vocals. One would think that having that many cooks in the kitchen would make transitions between songs jarring. On the contrary, the variety only deepens the immersion of Lindeville. It allows the listener to explore Lindeville from a variety of perspectives.

Ashley McBryde did, however, have a hand in writing most of the album. Three of the thirteen songs are jingles for local businesses. Of the other ten, McBryde co-penned eight of them. Aaron Raitiere and Jon Decious co-penned “Jesus Jenny” before Raitiere, McBryde, and Hayford had the concept for Lindeville. Additionally, the album contains a killer cover of Phil Everly’s “When Will I Be Loved.”

Ashely McBryde on Lindeville

Lindeville started as a conversation during a writing session. “A few years ago, Aaron Raitiere, Nicolette Hayford, and I were on a write,” recalls Ashley McBryde. “We wrote a song called ‘Blackout Betty.’ I realized we had written previous songs called ‘Shut Up Sheila’ on Never Will and ‘Livin’ Next to Leroy’ on Girl Going Nowhere. Aaron had a song called ‘Jesus, Jenny’ and I thought, ‘We should keep these characters together and give them a place to live.’”

Then, Ashley McBryde and her compatriots settled on calling that place Lindeville in honor of Dennis Linde. He penned songs like The Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl”, Roger Miller’s “All Fall Down”, Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Shot the Jukebox”, and many more. Linde’s storytelling and character-building made him a legend among songwriters. You can hear his influence throughout this record as plain as day.

A little later, Ashley McBryde called up Raitiere, Hayford, Brandy Clark, Connie Harrington, and Benjy Davis to write the songs that would become Lindeville. The six songwriters locked themselves in a house for about a week and got to work. “It was eight bottles of tequila, two cartons of cigarettes, one kitchen table, and six individuals out of their minds,” McBryde recalled.

Standout Songs from Lindeville

Honestly, I would recommend just putting this album on and letting it play. Ashley McBryde and her collaborators built a quirky little town that’s worth exploring. However, there are a few tracks that I tend to turn up a little louder as the album plays.

“Brenda Put Your Bra On”

As far as album openers go, you won’t find a better one than this. This song takes place in a trailer park. The next-door neighbor’s wife is about to catch him cheating and the song’s narrators don’t want Brenda to miss any of the action. “Brenda put your bra on. / There’s trouble next door. / Grab a pack of cigarettes and meet me on the porch.”

Having spent a good portion of my youth in trailer parks around Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, I can tell you that this song is frighteningly accurate. It’s also the perfect introduction to Ashley McBryde’s wild little town.

“Gospel Night at the Strip Club”

This is the kind of song that will make you stop what you’re doing and listen. It’s a somber tune that paints a vivid picture of a gospel gig at the local strip club. More importantly, it gives you a look at the club’s dancers, staff, and regulars.

However, it’s the spiritual message at the heart of the song that makes it so powerful. It’s a stark reminder that Jesus loves the sinners that so many look down on. If you only listen to one track on this album, let it be this one.

“If These Dogs Could Talk”

In this song, we get to hear about some of the skeletons residing in the closets of Lindeville’s residents. Drug dealing, infidelity, closeted married men – the dogs see it all. However, the song isn’t just airing the town’s dirty laundry while being happy that dogs can’t rat everyone out. It’s also about the virtues of our four-legged friends.

This one is, at the same time, an ode to dogs and a way to dig deeper into the lives of those who inhabit the small town.

Final Verdict on Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville  

Ashley McBryde has shown in the past that she doesn’t quite fit into the polished Nashville mold. Lindeville is proof that she has no desire to do so. This is one of the most interesting and well-written albums you’re going to hear this year. Do yourself a favor and take a trip down to Lindeville today.