One of the most piercing songs on Ashley McBryde’s major label debut album Girl Going Nowhere is “Livin’ Next to Leroy,” which addresses rural America’s drug epidemic.
“Where I’m from, there are two things to do after a certain age: make babies or make meth,” says McBryde, who grew up in the Ozark mountains in Arkansas. “I don’t think anybody’s willing to talk about it in any other genre. It deserves to be said, and it deserves to be said in a non-negative way. There’s an awful problem we need to deal with, but these people are not bad people.”
“Livin’ Next to Leroy,” which tells the story of a man who provides a safehouse for younger addicts before ultimately succumbing to his own addiction, is based on someone who grew up in the same North Florida hometown as Nicolette Hayford, who co-wrote the song with McBryde.
“In country music, we spend a lot of time talking about beer and having fun and bonfires, but there’s a big meth problem with our listeners and our companions, and it deserves to be spoken about,” says McBryde
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“There is this great party side to being from a rural area and from being in country music, but there’s also this other animal that exists among us all the time. A secret gets bigger and nastier the longer you don’t talk about it. The sooner you do talk about it, it can become a shadow of what it once was.”
Girl Going Nowhere, McBryde’s Warner Music Nashville debut, is out now.