Ashley McBryde's Emotional Rendition of "Amazing Grace" from the Ryman is What We Need Now
The past month has been extremely challenging as we have all faced the grave danger of a global pandemic for the first time in most of our lifetimes. As most of us are staying home to flatten the curve of the spread of coronavirus, juggling working from home and homeschooling our children, and others are bravely reporting to duty as essential workers, stress and anxiety are extremely high. Couple that with grief as many Americans are now also dealing with the loss of loved ones to this terrible disease. This past week was particularly hard as so many of us faced Passover and Easter alone, or not with all of our loved ones.
Because of this, and then the death of beloved musician and song-writer, John Prine, soulful country artist, Ashley McBryde, decided she wanted to step forward and do something, anything, to ease our collective sorrow. McBryde, like so many, had her plans altered by this pandemic. She was meant to be out on tour and promoting her sophomore album, Never Will. But of course, she’s not doing those things right now. She, like all of us, is staying put and figuring out how to deal with the sadness and the frightening of it all.
After news broke of Prine’s death from COVID-19, she got permission from the Ryman Auditorium and had oversight by the Nashville Dept. of Public Health to go into the empty Ryman and record a stirring, emotional performance of “Amazing Grace,” right there from the mother church of country music. As a note to Southern Living from her publicist reads, “she thought a whole lot of people were probably like her and could use moment where we come together — while physically distancing — and rejoice.” McBryde filmed the performance last week and chose to share it on her social media pages on Easter Sunday. While no one could attend services, McBryde took us to church and helped us all mourn.
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In her Instagram post, McBryde acknowledged her own emotions, saying it took seven tries to get the song out. But what starts out a little uncertain and tearful quickly shifts into the kind of powerful punch of emotion that will give you chill bumps and make you feel like she’s singing just to you, granting you permission to give into your own emotions. As she says in the caption,
“Some things just can’t be healed. Some losses can’t be reconciled, and some wounds will never heal. Sometimes we don’t get closure the way we want to. All we can do is honor our predecessors and hope that we touch the hem of heaven sometime in our lives.”
She concluded her post with, “I wouldn’t normally sing this song but we all may need this right now and there isn’t a better place to sing it at than the Ryman. The mother church pulls things like that out of you and will tell you what to sing and when to sing it...even if you can’t. Happy Easter, love to you all.” Thank you, Ashley. We did need that. We need it very much.