My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Ashton Shepherd – ‘Out Of My Pocket’

out of my pocketAshton Shepherd’s major label career did not work out, despite a handful of top 20 singles, and now she is making music at home in Alabama. Her latest self-released album is now available. Her distinctively stretched out vocals aren’t to all tastes, but they work well on her new material, all of it self-penned, and better than the songs on her last album, It’s America, which I was a little disappointed by.

‘With Us Tellin’ The Truth’ is a poor working class woman’s lament against the state of the American economy. ‘I Just Need A Minute’ also successfully expresses the frustrations of a harried mother, although it collapses into melodrama at the end when she is reminded how much she loves them after a car accident. ‘Can’t Tell You No’ is about love carrying a couple through the hard times. This is the one misstep on the album, with some irritating oh-oh-oh sounds, although the song itself is a decent one.

One of my favourite tracks, ‘This Rainy Sunday’ is a dramatic song about a wife who returns from Sunday to discover her cheating husband in flagrante in what feels like the precursor to a murder ballad:

I thought I was walkin’ with God
But I guess now I’m not
Everything I did believe is erased
The man I love’s done more than I can take
And I’m losing my faith

The anguished ‘Glass And Nails’ sees the protagonist’s husband hiding from their troubles in a bottle:

I’m not walkin’ on pins and needles, baby,
I’m walkin’ through glass and nails

‘It’s You’ is a fine song about a woman struggling her way through life through a series of bar pickups and one night stands after a breakup:

That ain’t me
It ain’t who I ever was
Doesn’t anyone remember who I used to be
No, that ain’t me
I swear it’s the truth
That ain’t me
It’s you

‘I Don’t Know Why’ is another pained song about heartbreak following the end of a relationship.

The brash, confident honky tonker ‘I Like Bein’ Single’ is much more positive about a newly single status:

The bar’s open and I’m goin’ out tonight
No I ain’t worried about what’s wrong or what’s right
You thought I’d be cryin’ since you left me alone
But there ain’t been a tear shed here, hon, since you’ve been gone
I never knew I could be this happy without you around

The protagonist of ‘Take It Back Real Slow’ begs her husband to revert to the early romantic stages of their relationship. The tender ‘Come Here To Me’ has a lullaby feel, while ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ is a happy love song. ‘Baby Doll’ relates a girl’s relationship with her father, from a little child not wanting to go to school, to the final separation of death.

This is an encouraging return from a talented singer-songwriter.

Grade: A

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