Sunday, 20 April, 2008 11:56 AM
CMA New Artist Spotlight: Ashton
by Danny Clinch
Nashville recording artist Ashton Shepherd
2008 CMA Close Up News Service
The first single from
the new album by Ashton Shepherd tells us all we need to know about
the soul of this 21-year-old singer and songwriter. On "Takin'
Off This Pain," her voice is tough, tender and wise beyond
its years and her gift for setting the stage for a song with simple
eloquence is in full view.
Producer Buddy Cannon
knows how to breathe life into images of hard times and good times.
Throughout Shepherd's MCA Nashville debut, Sounds So Good, on 12
tunes, eight written solely by the artist and three co-written with
Adam Cunningham, Cannon swirls heartbreak fiddle, last-call steel
guitar and powerfully assertive and expressive vocals into a neon-bathed
tour de force.
From the twang in Shepherd's
tone throughout "I Like Being Single" and the pain in
her stretched-out phrasing on "Whiskey Won the Battle,"
you know that this Coffeeville, Ala., native has been there, done
that and earned the right to write and sing about it with an almost
Raised in a flyspeck
town of 360, Shepherd won her first talent contest at age 8, appropriately
with a couple of Patsy Cline tunes. Her parents funded recording
and manufacturing for 1,000 copies of her first album at 15. She
won another contest at 16 that earned her an opportunity to open
for Lorrie Morgan - and that in turn inspired a producer in the
audience to invite her to Nashville. One connection led to another,
the result being this remarkable album, rooted deep in tradition
and reaching past that Alabama horizon toward an assured and enduring
IN HER OWN WORDS:
"Keith Whitley and Dolly Parton."
SONG YOU WANT TO
"'Fishin' in the Dark,' by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band."
CD ON YOUR STEREO
DREAM DUET PARTNER
SONG YOU WISH YOU
"'He Stopped Loving Her Today.'"
SONG YOU SING IN
"That's actually where I write a lot of songs."
MOMENT TO RELIVE
IF YOU COULD
"Holding my son James for the first time."
WHEN THEY LOOK BACK
ON YOUR LIFE IN 50 YEARS, WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU
"I hope they say I will always be remembered by the songs I
write and the music I create."
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