With her twangy rhythm and sassy style, Ashton Shepherd is definitely one to watch. As a writer, I’m all about a good word or two, and I was admittedly intrigued at first by the thoughts and sounds triggered by the lyrics about a “cooler slushing.” It’s a cool phrase that conjures up pleasant memories of summer nights, and I can vouch that the album as a whole “Sounds So Good.” (Sorry, had to be done.) In this collection, the 21 year old songstress combines the “Redneck” of Gretchen, the “Kerosene” of Miranda and the “Dirty Girl” of Terri Clark to form a powerful new sound of her own.
As I said, the song that drew me to Shepherd was “Sounds So Good,” a classically melodic, perfectly balanced depiction of a pleasant summer day. You’ll probably also recognize “Takin’ Off This Pain,” which has also been tearing up the charts this year. This howl of the unappreciated plays as an anthem for the newly independent, a celebration of lessons learned and better roads ahead. Another winner on this album is “Regular Joe” a sweeter song for this power-girl artist that takes her twangy, husky tone to a softer place. The strength in her voice helps this song from getting too syrupy, which is appreciated by listeners engaged in the tale of wistful longing. Another sentimental song of Shepherd’s is “How Big Are Angel Wings.” A tearjerker for sure, this song presents difficult subject matter for a newbie, but she delivers her tale with grace and control.
While “Sounds So Good” is an excellent album, I suspect Shepherd has some growing to do. After a year or two of seasoning, I believe she’s going to take country by storm. Fans of The Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson, Terri Clark and/or Reba McEntire should definitely check her out. Her deep, strong voice is equally effective for funsie feel goods or delicate ballads, easily qualifying her as a star in the making.