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The pure, clear, country voice of Ashton Shepherd lilts through the evening air from a place called The Pickin’ Shed.It’s a cabin behind her house situated on seven acres of cropland. After the day’s chores are over, she and her husband and her brother-in-law break out their guitars and fill the Shed with songs.
And what songs they are. Ashton Shepherd writes in a style that is as refreshing and direct as her personality. You won’t hear many “kiss-off” songs with more sass and attitude than “Takin’ Off This Pain.” Her bell-like voice chimes with innocence on the charming rural celebration “Sounds So Good.” She’s a feisty, fun country gal on the loose “I Like Being Single” and “Not Right Now.” “Old Memory That Don’t Remember Me” and “Whiskey Won the Battle” are classic-sounding “weeper” ballads that could have been written a generation ago.
Her moods range from a touching story song like “How Big Are Angel Wings” to a fiery hillbilly rocker like “The Bigger the Heart, the Harder They Fall.” The drenched-in-steel love ballad “Lost in You” contrasts beautifully with her striking, woman-to-woman saga “Regular Joe.” Her beloved “Pickin’ Shed” is the subject of one particularly friendly ditty, and her powerful housewife lyric “I Ain’t Dead Yet” is another page from her autobiography.
All of these potent tunes are on Sounds So Good, the debut Ashton Shepherd album from MCA Nashville. All of them were written before she turned 21.
“This is what I was born to do,” says Ashton in her honey-smooth, deep-Alabama accent. “I’ve always been singing, but it didn’t come from me. I didn’t just teach myself to sing. I’ve always sung. The songwriting is the same. As soon as I was big enough to write on paper, I was coming up with stuff. I’ve got notebooks where I was writing down songs when I couldn’t even spell correctly, from the time I was five, six, seven years old.”
The words come spilling out of her in a chatty rush. Ashton has an open-hearted candor that is instantly endearing. She speaks exactly like the country girl she has always been.
If you look at a map of her home state, you’ll see that there is a vast area southwest of Birmingham where there are no interstate highways and communities so small that Demopolis, population 7,500, is a metropolis by comparison. Here, the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers meander slowly southward toward Mobile through acre after acre of forests and farm fields. Coffeeville, where Ashton was raised, is a tiny town of 360. Click here for Ashton's full bio