With jaunty melodies in a minor key, McBryde’s songs, she said from stage, are about “gettin’ [her] heart broken, but mostly about drinkin’ whiskey.” They’re also steeped in empowered Loretta Lynn sass. But to box her in as merely a female in a man’s world is unfair. She’s as much a product of Merle Haggard’s “misery and gin” as she is a resident of Loretta’s “Fist City.” While a long-time songwriting favorite about town, the fact that she’s backed by a virtual dream team of local musicians doesn’t hurt, either.

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Why Mandy McBryde & the Unholy Ghost will win: Because accessibility isn’t a bad thing. The group’s “modern sounds in country and western music” are so good, they don’t need an angle.

Check out video of their semi-final performance after the jump.

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