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In the early '90s, McBride & The Ride was burning up the blacktop. The band scored four Top 10 hits, released three critically acclaimed albums and played to packed houses coast to coast.
Then the ride screeched to a halt.
"We got caught in the big wheel," confides bass player/frontman Terry McBride. "Our egos got enlarged. We all started getting demanding and wanted things our own way."
In 1993 -- just two years after their first hit -- Terry and bandmates Ray Herndon and Billy Thomas split. Ray pursued a solo career and toured with Lyle Lovett. Billy drummed for Vince Gill and Patty Loveless.
Terry turned to songwriting, piling up hits for George Strait, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn. He often joined the duo on the road to collaborate between shows.
During one such tour in 2000, Brooks & Dunn's bass player couldn't make it to a show. "Everyone was freaking out!" remembers Terry. "They said, 'You've got to play!' I'd heard all their songs and a couple I'd written but I'd never actually played them. I hadn't picked up my bass in five years!"
An hour later, Terry was onstage.
"I had so much fun!" says Terry. "I found out I could still play."
That impromptu gig whetted Terry's performing appetite. Two weeks later, when former bandmate Ray Herndon called suggesting McBride & The Ride reunite for a party at his club, Handlebar J in Scottsdale, Ariz., Terry jumped at the chance. Billy was also game.
"When we got together after seven years we were like, man, we're a band!" exclaims Terry.
They followed that reunion gig with a performance on the Grand Ole Opry. "That was the coolest," says Terry. "We never played the Opry the first time around."
Now with plans for a tour, McBride & The Ride is charged up about its new album, Amarillo Sky, due in May. "This record is like our earlier albums because there's the common thread, our three-part harmony," explains Terry. "But this time the three of us wrote songs together."
There have also been more changes in Terry's life. In December, he and his wife, Cathy, welcomed a new baby daughter, Lillian. "Cathy's amazing," Terry says. "Even with our new baby, she's totally cool about McBride & The Ride going back on the road. In fact, she's encouraging us to go for it!"
Support from home is vital, but the members of McBride & The Ride know their strength rests in their common bond.
Says Billy, "We know we're dependent on each other to make this work."
"When we split up, we parted as friends," says Ray. "That always left the door open."
-- M.B. Roberts