Ashley McBryde Talks Growing Up in Arkansas, Her Mom's Cooking, and More

The country musician joins us on Biscuits & Jam to discuss her Arkansas roots, moving to Nashville, and her mom's cooking.

Ashley McBryde
Photo: Daniel Meigs

In this week's episode, Sid Evans talks to Ashley McBryde about candle-making during quarantine, the big break she got courtesy of Eric Church, and personal songs about her father and brother. Plus a wide range of recommended dishes, from smoked red velvet cake to squirrel!

Episode 18: October 13, 2020

​Ashley McBryde's 2018 album titled ​Girl Going Nowhere ​proved just the opposite, earning her multiple Grammy nominations as well as CMA, CMT, and ACM award wins. Released earlier this year, her new album ​Never Will​ continues to showcase relatable, intimate stories of people dealing with love, loss, and everything in between. Her songs have even been covered by country legends like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

On Growing Up in Arkansas

"I grew up in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, and was lucky because I grew up on a farm. We had horses and cows and chickens and all that kind of stuff. So a lot of my memories involved working with cattle and finding lost calves…We lived on a dirt road that was about two and a half miles long, so from our house to the highway was two and a half miles, and at the end of that dirt was the church we attended, which was the Pilot Church of Christ."

On the Cook in the Family

"My mother is the cook in our family. She can tell you anything and make it sound good, and fix you anything and make it taste good."

On Her Mom's Specialties

"My dad would go to Colorado and elk hunt so we always had wild game, and we had a big deep freezer outside that was full of quail, pheasant, and venison... If Mom put ground venison in chili, it was the best chili you ever had…If she happened to have bison for a burger, it was the best burger you ever had. We even cooked a lot of squirrel when I was growing up. ​We didn't do that a lot. We lived 45 minutes from a grocery store. So, ​during squirrel season, my dad would let me go and get a couple of squirrels, and then would show me how to clean them and all that."

On the Holidays

"Holidays are crowded. We have lots of people and everyone brings their dogs. My mom would make turkey, ham, lasagna, and orange stuff for dessert… Orange stuff is made with cottage cheese, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, and a packet ​of orange Jell-o. You stir all of it together and let it chill for a couple of hours. It's awesome."

On Moving to Nashville

"I was going to school in Jonesborough, Arkansas, and then I moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and started playing in the bars. And then I was playing so much in the bars that I was really missing a lot of school in Jonesborough. So, I wound up dropping out and moving to Nashville. And I played at Dan McGuinness on Demonbreun Street on Tuesday nights from six to eight for half price drafts and half price appetizers. I played at a place called Christopher's Pizza, which was just down the road right there on Demonbreun Street for pizza and then probably tips. I played a lot of places for tips. I played Broadway, I did all of that stuff. ​And I found out that you can make more money anywhere else, playing in bars. Because everybody here plays."

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, will sit down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid will take us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

​Listen to the full interview with Ashley McBryde on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere podcasts are available.

Get a transcript of the full interview with Ashley McBryde.

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