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Ashton Shepherd - Sounds So Good
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
7/31/08

There are albums…and there are albums. Nashville, almost daily, churns out music, keeping the treadmill on overtime rates, while keeping the musically insatiable fed. We have the hats, the hunks, the wannabees, the “next big thing”, all paraded and exaggerated, often without any real regard for talent. Get the song drafted to as many radio stations as possible, get it on CMT, get a story in the paper and with any luck the runaway publicity train may mold a hit, better, a star.

But as we know there are albums, and there are albums. Sometimes a talent with a great debut slips outside the dragnet of fans and Billboard. Sometimes, in the cut and push of the publicity for other label hopefuls, an album comes along, with all the needed “stuff” but, for all the wrong reasons, it gets lost in the swamp of releases. It slips from view.

Meet Ashton Shepherd.

Her debut, Sounds So Good (MCA Nashville), has landed in music stores. And with an album living up to its title, I’m somewhat amazed it hasn’t bounced hard into a lot of the smultz on the current charts. With a unique down home voice, drizzled every so keenly with an Alabama twang, this young wife (she’s 21) and mother of one is as country as it gets. Hear the feisty vocals of, say, Tanya Tucker, Gretchen Wilson or Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, and you’re getting a measure of Ashton Shepherd.

I mean, the girl can sing.

The proof comes across in 11 evenly and vocally charmed tunes. And she can write, having penned all but four cuts. There is the marital freedom of a tossed wedding band, as heard on the recent radio single, “Takin’ Off This Pain”. There is the image of the windows down and the sound of a cooler slushin' on the truck bed, all to the sounds of real country music, as heard on “Sounds So Good”. “The Pickin’ Shed”, with it’s tale of friends and music meeting on common ground, is something you’d imagine Shepherd would have lived on the seven acre family farm in small-town, blink and miss, Leroy, Alabama.

While the album bounces and jumps with a goodly mix of toe-tapping fare, there is plenty in the reserve tank to cater for those with a reflective and somber need. The pain of a lost and movin’ on romance is catered for on “Regular Joe,” while the piano-led “Old Memory,” the love soaked “Lost In You” and the joyous lament of a housewife’s lot in “I Ain’t Dead Yet” all showcase Shepherd’s soon to be discovered talent.

Noted producer Buddy Cannon has a lot to be proud of here, on an album that simply grabbed me from the first play. As mentioned, there are albums, and there are albums. I’m a fan of this one, won over with both the voice and the tunes.

Find out the excitement; check out her web site, her Myspace, and do yourself the biggest favor – get the album. Then when you have listened, why not send along a Real People Review (see below) and let us know what you think.

Until then, it’s all sounding so good for Ashton Shepherd.

 


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Related Links:   
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