11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ashton Shepherd comes out of the gate tackling hard country with the ache and abandon of someone who’s lived the music for several lifetimes. The 21-year-old Alabamian's twang-heavy vocals carry the bite of a young Patty Loveless, with a dash of Loretta Lynn’s full-bodied angst thrown in. There’s no wild-girl affectation here, just real-life domestic dysfunction and booze-soaked regret. Whether she’s dressing down a cold-hearted male (“Takin’ Off This Pain”), carrying a torch for a lost love (“Old Memory”) or missing her single years (“I Ain’t Dead Yet”), she never fails to convince. Her party anthem “Not Right Now” gives Gretchen Wilson a run for her money, and “Whisky Won the Battle” is harrowing enough to skirt Lynyrd Skynyrd territory. Tracks like “Regular Joe” and the title tune display a sensual passion that’s all too rare in country these days. Producer Buddy Killen deserves praise for taking a sparse, tradition-rooted approach on these tracks, and Shepherd's performances are little short of heavenly.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ashton Shepherd comes out of the gate tackling hard country with the ache and abandon of someone who’s lived the music for several lifetimes. The 21-year-old Alabamian's twang-heavy vocals carry the bite of a young Patty Loveless, with a dash of Loretta Lynn’s full-bodied angst thrown in. There’s no wild-girl affectation here, just real-life domestic dysfunction and booze-soaked regret. Whether she’s dressing down a cold-hearted male (“Takin’ Off This Pain”), carrying a torch for a lost love (“Old Memory”) or missing her single years (“I Ain’t Dead Yet”), she never fails to convince. Her party anthem “Not Right Now” gives Gretchen Wilson a run for her money, and “Whisky Won the Battle” is harrowing enough to skirt Lynyrd Skynyrd territory. Tracks like “Regular Joe” and the title tune display a sensual passion that’s all too rare in country these days. Producer Buddy Killen deserves praise for taking a sparse, tradition-rooted approach on these tracks, and Shepherd's performances are little short of heavenly.

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