McBride & The Ride Interview

McBride & The Ride Interview

By Big Al Weekley for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

“Right place, right time-mullets and tight jeans!” Get ready to ride. Everybody loves a comeback and the resurgence of the 90’s country would not be complete without McBride & The Ride triumphantly bursting back onto the scene. The original line up of Ray Herndon (vocals/guitar), Terry McBride (vocals/bass) and Billy Thomas (vocals/drums) have been in the studio recording new music and will take the stage to introduce fans to the new songs as well as delight them with the classics.

The band has reunited for an EP featuring four brand new originals and a remake of the Webb Pierce classic, “Honky Tonk Song,” for Marlboros & Avon, which will be released in 2023. Fans can expect the same tight-knit harmonies with a modernized sound and storytelling lyrics that is undeniably country. With nearly 30 years of collective touring between them, the trio has come together and are sounding better than ever. “Honestly we are having a blast. It feels like we haven’t missed a beat,” McBride shares. “Our harmonies are locked in, our musicianship is elevated, and we are just having so much fun. Our new music has a hint of that 90s sound along with our signature three-part harmonies that McBride & The Ride is known for. We kept it simple and recorded everything as a four-piece band, which allows us to perform these songs live with the same sound and instrumentation that was used on the record.”

McBride & The Ride was the brainchild of legendary producer, Tony Brown. As the head of MCA records in the 90s Brown had worked with all three of the phenomenal musicians in different capacities, yet none of them knew each other. Brown made the introductions and the magic started happening right from their very first rehearsal. “Tony put the three of us together but had no idea that the harmony would be what it is. That was a surprise to all of us,” Herndon recalls of that first breathtaking blending of their voices.

The band garnered ACM and CMA nominations and released three acclaimed albums on MCA Records, Burnin’ Up The Road, Sacred Ground, and Hurry Sundown, spawning hit singles like “Love on the Loose, Heart on the Run,” “Sacred Ground,” “Going Out of My Mind,” “Just One Night” and many more. It was then that their legion of fans began to form. “There is nothing like country music fans. It’s always so fun to see their reactions after hearing our harmonies live!” Herndon says. “The three-part harmonies have always been what set us apart from other bands.” He goes on to share how much country fans mean to the band. “We love getting to meet our fans, take a picture with them, and hear how one of our songs made them fall in love, or became their wedding song.”

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Over the last two decades the three principles have thrived with their individual careers. Herndon has been Lyle Lovett’s lead guitarist since 1985 and has had songs cut by Kenny Chesney, Aaron Tippin, Lee Greenwood, Linda Davis and more, and he continues to operate his family’s historic club, Handlebar J, in Scottsdale, Arizona. McBride has had his songs recorded over 100 times, writing major hits for Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Easton Corbin, Cody Johnson and more. He toured with Brooks & Dunn through most of their biggest years playing bass and writing songs. Thomas moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 1987 and immediately started working with Vince Gill along with many other country stars (Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Steve Wariner & Earl Scruggs). He’s continued as Gill’s singing drummer on the road and in the studio ever since, adding background vocals to many of his hits. In 2010 Thomas joined the Grammy nominated Western Swing band, The Time Jumpers. You can catch him most Monday nights with them in Music City.

All three agree that although much of the reunification has been seamless, there is one thing that is dramatically different this time around. That is the advent of social media. “Back in the nineties we had the help of radio, some occasional TV performances, and music videos, but we were basically going town-to-town to promote our band and our music,” McBride remembers. “Now we are already taking advantage of social media, and all that it offers.” He excitedly shares that their TikTok has over 11,000 followers in less than a month. “We are growing and connecting with fans each day on all the platforms. It is the future for us to be able to stay connected to our fans, help promote our tour dates, and share our new music. For me, the feedback and comments from our fans from a post or a music clip we share is the best part of it.”

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