Ashley McBryde is as fierce as they come, but even she was nervous the first time she met one of country music's biggest stars, Eric Church.

Long before she landed a record deal and became one of the genre's most buzzed-about new artists, Church took notice of McBryde's talent. Really, he was one of her earliest fans. The "Girl Goin' Nowhere" singer tells Taste of Country about the first time she met Church and his wife, Katherine, at an office meeting.

"They said 'We're big fans!' and I went, 'Oh God, that's so backwards,'" McBryde says, laughing at the ridiculousness. "But it was nice."

Not long after, Church invited the burgeoning star to his show in Chicago in April of 2017 and surprised her with an invitation to perform with him that night. She stunned the crowd with a raw, acoustic version of her own "Bible and a .44."

"I go to the show, Eric says, 'You're performing.' [We] tried to make the best of the worst and we did a really good job with it," McBryde recalls of a performance where Church introduced her as "unquestionably my favorite artist out right now that's not out yet."

"I was terrified, but we had a really, really good time," she admits.

McBryde was one of several artists who ignited the stage 2018 Taste of Country Music Festival this past weekend. She's booked her first headlining tour for late 2018 and named it after her critically-acclaimed debut album, Girl Going Nowhere. She'll be performing across the U.S. from September through December, but also making stop in London on Oct. 10. McBryde is a listed performer at WE Fest on Aug. 4.

Ashley McBryde, Eric Church + More Totally Rad ToC Festival Pictures

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