Ashton Shepherd knows “Where Country Grows.”
Her distinctive sound comes from her family farm in the tiny hamlet of Leroy, Alabama. More specifically, it comes from a backyard cabin called The Pickin’ Shed. That’s where this young wife and mother crafts her extraordinarily insightful country songs.
Unlike many country singers, who leave their small towns to create a new life under Nashville’s bright lights, Ashton has chosen to remain in her home state among the people whom she has always known, continuing to write songs about everyday experiences in a simple yet powerful way. She’s a Southern charmer with common sense and a quick wit who is comfortable with who she is and how she lives her life.
Critics and fans alike have been drawn to the authenticity of this small-town sage whose traditional country music strikes a chord with Americans everywhere. She captures the life of those who live very differently than the ones depicted on reality shows and in magazines. She has emerged as a feminine voice of the working class and a role model for women whose lives are defined more by their aching feet and shoulders than the color of their collars, for the women who toil all day at offices and factories, only to face more work at home to take care of their families.
Indeed, Ashton herself is a working mother – she has a son, James, who is five, and another one the way – who works on her farm when she’s not touring and sells the results of her labor from a makeshift vegetable stand out of the back of a truck. She’s also become a business woman who has learned to make the best decisions for her career and life.
Song by song, she has used these common threads to sew a musical patchwork quilt of a woman’s soul. With a blend of conviction, humor and sass, Ashton presents the image of a woman who maintains a deep loyalty to her family, but also has the strength necessary to stand up for herself and what she believes in.
Where Country Grows is her sophomore album that is the impressive musical evolution following 2008’s Sounds So Good, which produced hits including the title track and “Takin’ Off This Pain.” The Washington Post named Sounds So Good one of the best albums of 2008 of all genres, calling Ashton, “the real deal…brimming with personality.” The Wall Street Journal said she was “a potential Loretta Lynn for a new generation.” Billboard stated, “There are debut albums, and then there are debut albums that serve notice that the landscape has changed.” Entertainment Weekly said the album “is the best mainstream country debut since Taylor Swift’s,” while The Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press and dozens of other media outlets raved about the album as well.
You’ll find her deep country roots, earthy personality, feelings, humor and wisdom in every note of her new MCA Nashville album Where Country Grows. She is deeply pensive and philosophical on the ballad “While It Ain’t Raining,” while she is merry and light-hearted in the spirited “More Cows Than People” and “Trying to Go to Church.”
Songs like “Rory’s Radio” and “That’s Where Country Grows” are full of vivid imagery from her authentically rural lifestyle. She finds a fresh way to approach the classic country topic of marital discord in the lyrics of “That All Leads to One Thing.” The throbbing, moody “I’m Good” is about surviving a breakup and “I’m Just a Woman” is a 21st century anthem for her gender.
The chorus of “I’m Just a Woman” says, “And I guess I'm just a woman and that's women do. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, making sure every little thing goes through. And I know you're doing all you can and I know that after all you are just a man. But you should understand that I'm just a woman.”
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