On This Day: Ashley McBryde Released Her Debut Single ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ in 2017

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Ashley McBryde self-released her debut self-titled album in 2006. Five years later she self-released her sophomore record Elsebound. Five years after that, her final independent EP Jalopies & Expensive Guitars hit streaming services. Not many people heard her early work. However, it wasn’t about how many people listened, but who listened. Jalopies & Expensive Guitars opened a door for the Arkansas native. A little over a year after releasing it, McBryde inked a deal with Warner Music Nashville and prepared to properly introduce herself to the country music world.

On October 16th, 2017, Ashley McBryde released her debut single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” to country radio. The song peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart as well as the publication’s Country Airplay chart. For McBryde, it was life-changing.

Ashley McBryde and Jesse Rice on ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’

Ashley McBryde co-penned her debut single with Nicolette Hayford and Jesse Rice. In a recent video discussing the song, McBryde recalled that no one was having a good day. Nicolette Hayford was nursing a fresh heartbreak. Ashley was there not only to write with Hayford but also to console her friend. However, Rice, who neither of them had met was late. When he walked in the door, McBryde’s mood went from bad to worse.

“In comes Jesse, completely disheveled,” she recalled. “His sunglasses were missing a lens. He hadn’t noticed. They were still on his face.” Looking back, she finds their first meeting funny. At the time, though, Ashley McBryde wasn’t laughing. “This guy thinks he can just show up late to this co-write. What an assh*le.”

Then, Rice explained that he had dropped his phone in the toilet at the bar the night before and couldn’t bring himself to go after it. As a result, he lost access to his calendar and all of his contacts. He didn’t know when, where, or with whom he was supposed to be writing that day. McBryde and Hayford did a complete 180 from angry to empathetic.

“Ashley and Nicolette were just like, ‘Dude, are you alright? Do you maybe want to not write and just get to know each other? We can get a case of beer and just hang out if you’d like.’ I said that sounds great, let’s do that,” Rice recalled of his first co-write with Ashley McBryde.

“A Little Dive Bar” Is Born

Before long, Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, and Jesse Rice were bonding over just how bad the past few days had been. Then, they started sharing the worst days they’d ever had. Rice told them a story about breaking down on his way out of Atlanta, Georgia. The closest repair shop was in a small town called Dahlonega. While he waited for his car, Rice slipped into the Crimson Moon for a beer.

Later that night, Rice said he went back to see Shawn Mullins play. Then, he bumped into a beautiful blonde and they struck up a conversation. The pair would go on to get married.

 “What started out as the worst day of his life winds up being a pretty historical event,” Ashley McBryde said.

That parallels the writing process for “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”. What started as a rough day for everyone involved gave birth to the single that would put Ashley McBryde on the country music radar.