Dive bars, Dahlonega and “worst day[s]”: A crash course in Ashley McBryde’s breakthrough hit

Warner Music NashvilleIf you’re trying to unravel the mysteries of Ashley McBryde’s first top forty hit, “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega,” here’s a crash course:  Dahlonega is a town in the mountains of North Georgia, and the watering hole in question is a place called the Crimson Moon.

The song was based on something that actually happened to songwriter Jesse Rice.

“Jesse did a really good job of explaining the town of Dahlonega to us, and his exact situation, the car breaking down and pulling into the Crimson Moon, just to kind of ride it out and have a beer, and Shawn Mullins was in [the bar] singing,” Ashley says of the session where the tune was written.

“[Our co-writer] Nicolette Hayford and I were taking notes as fast as we possibly could,” Ashley recalls. “And [Jesse]’s like, ‘Well, anyway, I guess we’re not writing today.’ And I was like, ‘No, no, no! Listen to this.”

She recalls that she then started sing, “Here’s to the breakups that didn’t break us,” and adds, “45 minutes after that, we had the song.”

The Arkansas native says the tune about “making the best of the worst day” is having a bigger effect than she ever imagined.

“I started getting emails and Snapchats from people saying, ‘This song changed my life,’” Ashley tells ABC Radio. “And I’m Snapping back, immediately. ‘What do you mean? What happened?’ You know like, ‘Did your car break down?’”

“And [one fan] said I kept her from taking a phone call from her abusive ex,” Ashley reveals. “That’s way bigger than us. So what we touched on — our terrible day — became way bigger than we can comprehend.”  

Ashley’s debut album for Warner Nashville, Girl Going Nowhere, comes out March 30.

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