Ashton Shepherd is the future of country music.
Okay, I realize that’s a bold statement, but I’m honestly not as excited for any new album release this summer except for maybe Blake Shelton’s new set. Ashton Shepherd has a new album coming out in less than a month and I’m excited about it. The EP is great and I’m excited to hear the rest of the new songs Ashton has been working on.
It was just a few years ago when Ashton first appeared on the country scene. Her music was different. It was a throwback to the good old days of traditional country sound mixed with modern yet timeless country stories.
Even though she was barely twenty one years old back in 2008 there was a maturity about Ashton that made her stand out. She had the vocals to back up her experience and then seemingly for no reason her album was cut short at two singles and she disappeared.
Ashton Shepherd 2011
It’s time for Ashton Shepherd to have a big 2011. But first, let’s look back on her country journey.
The curious case of Ashton Shepherd still puzzles me a bit.
It was 2008 or perhaps even late 2007. Ashton’s debut single Takin’ Off This Pain was climbing the charts. In fact, I had heard the song for the first time on the radio and wasn’t quite sure what to think of it.
The song was something like Gretchen Wilson, but it sounded different. This girl had southern vocals. There was even more twang and plenty of attitude. At the time I wasn’t in love with the song, but the more I heard it on the local radio station the more I found I enjoyed it.
Later in 2008 Ashton’s debut album was released to some fanfare. All things relative the album had a solid debut for a new country artist. By no means was the album a smash success on the charts, but it sold fairly well and soon the second single – Sounds So Good – was climbing the charts.
It was this second single that really got me interested in Ashton Shepherd and her music. This song was fun. It had the perfect feel for a summer song and I hope you believe me when I slushed a few beers in the cooler while listening to this song. I had a habit of sitting on the cooler while grilling in the yard of the place I was living. Country music was always playing on the radio at that place.
By the time the second single was peaking around number twenty on the charts I started to really research Ashton Shepherd. I listened to as many of her interviews as I could find online. She comes across so real and down to earth in each question and answer.
I continued listening to Ashton’s album over and over. Each son on the set was pure country to my ears. There was emotion in each lyric and vocal of the songs. These were the stories of a true country woman getting through life as a young woman. The stories seemed real and even as a guy I found myself nodding my head along with the lyrics to songs like I Ain’t Dead Yet. It was a little weird, but I think I just connect with great country music.
To me – Ashton Shepherd had an extremely strong debut, but for some reason she disappeared after 2008.
For whatever reason, MCA Nashville – Ashton’s label – decided to move on from her first album. No more singles were released. One year went by and then 2010 came and went without a peep from Ashton or her record label. I’m sure she was out playing some shows and I’m even more sure she was busy at home being a wife and mother.
As a new fan of hers I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I was looking forward to more music from this promising country star. Some of the news came out later that the songs on the first album were too slow for country radio. Ashton later said in interviews that it was a little difficult playing os many slow songs back to back on the concert circuit, especially at the fairs where people want some foot tapping tunes.
I’ll buy those excuses, but I figured the label had just moved on. It didn’t make sense. Even the studio musicians on Ashton’s first album had been talking about what a great experience it was to play with her on the first record. They said it was something unique and powerful.
How can great country music just be given up on for years?
Where Country Grows
In early 2011 we got a big surprise – new music from Ashton Shepherd.
She’s not gone! It was great when I heard Ashton had a new song. I wrote about it right away I think on CML and I’m sure the review was raving. Ashton Shepherd was back and my excitement was growing.
More interviews and information came out about what Ashton had been doing for 2009 and 2010. It turns out she was plenty busy taking care of things at home with her family. She was also busy preparing new music. She was working with new writers and trying to make something special for her second album.
Ashton reiterated that it was difficult on the first album to find the right audience. Even though the songs were great there was trouble making all the slow songs work in concert and on radio.
That changed when Look It Up hit the airwaves.
The song was catchy and fun. It was uptempo and the melody was easy to sing along with. In fact, my girlfriend and I still find ourselves singing the chorus every time we say the phrase Look It Up in passing conversation.
If that’s not the sign of a big country hit I don’t know what is.
Look It Up is already Ashton’s biggest hit to date – even though it’s only her third single. The song continues climbing the charts right now as the days get closer to the release of her new album Where Country Grows.
The new album should be great. It’s something I’ve been waiting for and I’m sure other fans of Ashton’s can’t wait either.
It looks like the future has a few dates on the schedule this summer for Ashton. There is even a show in my home state of Wisconsin. I’ll have to see if I can make it. Actually, who am I kidding? I’ll need to be there.
Beyond the few summer tour dates I’m sure Ashton will be plenty busy working the interviews and radio spots over the summer leading up to and after her album release. Artists always need to be out there giving time to the fans as they work to sell their latest music collections.
Right now Look It Up is climbing the charts. The song is snappy and fun. It’s the kind of song that could crack the top ten by the end of the summer. Keep requesting it if you want to see Ashton keep climbing.
By the fall I’m hoping for another great single from the new album. And finally I’m hoping there is at least a third single from the album to get Ashton through the better part of 2012 on this second album.
Ashton seems like the kind of woman that likes working hard at her career. I’m sure she’s putting everything into making this country career work. She has all the talent in the world as evidence by her songs up to this point. I’m hopeful she can find time to give enough of herself to her family and her fans. The first is most important obviously, but hopefully there is enough time to go around.
The album hits the streets in just a few weeks.
Will you be picking up a copy?
I know I will be.