Interview with Chart-Topping Country Singer/Songwriter, Ashton Shepherd

"I love Maggiano's. That is where you go to celebrate"

Thanks so much for talking with us! What impact do you feel you music has on this chaotic world of ours?

I feel like it gives people a little place of refuge. I am who I am with my music and I feel like people need that and need to know that everything is going to be okay. Especially with all the negativity and chaos. I feel like it brings positivity.

Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

I have a few actually. But one that stands out is when a fellow came up to my husband at a show, he was a grown man and my husband said he was just shaking. You could tell he was an older farmer. He asked my husband if he could just help him meet me. He said that he had been listening to my first album and going through all the songs listening to them one night at his house. He got to the song “Pickin’ Shed,” in particular, and said listening to it actually kept him from committing suicide. He was so depressed and down and something about that song, maybe the friendliness and comradery, helped him. He still keeps up with me even now and I always try and spend time with him. That is my most special story.

You recently announced “The Country Roots Tour,” this fall. Are there any places you are excited to play or can’t wait to get back to?

I am honestly excited about all of them because most of them are the North East circuit that I played so much at the very beginning of my career. I am excited to be back playing Virginia, Pennsylvania, and up through that area. It has been awhile. I have been touring what I like to call my own Texas, which is Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas. So I am excited to get back to the North East.

Tell us a little about the new music you are working on?

I am really excited. I have a friend of mine that was a contestant on American Idol about four years ago that is from Alabama too and they contacted me about doing a duet. It is a song they wrote that I love.It will be out as soon as we can get it out. Then on top of that I have also been writing my own new material and am going to be putting out a new album, or at least a new EP, hopefully this Fall. We have the studio all booked. So I have a couple things brewing.

What would you do on a day off in Nashville, no work allowed?

This may sound like I am 100 years old at heart, but I like to go in big antique and Salvation Army stores and look. There is so much awesome stuff. I have a Duke boys lunch box, but it is of cousins Coy and Vance, not Bo and Luke. I thought that was rare. So I really like to go antique shopping.

What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants?

Taco Mamacita. I am a taco girl and I love chips and salsa. I also love Maggiano’s. That is where you go to celebrate.

We love your style and jewelry, any favorite Nashville shops?

It’s online, but I love Rustic Cuff. Someone gave me a cuff at one of my last shows. My wardrobe is kind of like the decor in my house, I just piece it together. I am a bargain shopper. Where I live is so rural, really Walmart has the cutest stuff. Trust me. But I do like Forever 21 and those shops. I am my own person when it comes to style. I do not necessarily like what everybody else likes. I have to find my own deals. The same way with antique shopping, I go store to store and piece stuff together.

Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?

Bell bottoms. In the seventh grade they were in. I rocked them with a Calvin Klein t-shirt. And I had Bongo khakis and Mudd jeans. You were something back then if you had a Tommy Hilfiger shirt and Timberland boots or Birkenstock’s.

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

This is a totally random song, but Nickelback, “Rockstar.” I got dared to do it one time. That’s who I need to do Crossroads with on CMT.

What’s your favorite cooking show?

I am being old school, but the Cajun guy, Justin Wilson, that used to cook on PBS. He had the real cajun accent and just threw stuff together and was so funny and spunky. I used to love to watch that because it was so different. It made you want to cook like him.

In the South we love our potlucks, what’s your go-to dish to bring?

One of the dishes that I love to make is corn casserole. I will also make mac and cheese and broccoli casserole. But the corn casserole I found in an old church cookbook. All it is, one box of yellow Zatarain rice, a can of cream of celery, cheese, and mexicorn. Just those few things. Cook your rice first, then add the cream of celery to it, mexicorn, and then cheese so it melts just a little. Then put it in the oven and let it bake. It is so good.

What is one thing you can tell us that most people don’t know about you and might surprise us?

I used to be and still am a fan of Eminem. I like his stuff and appreciate his level of talent. He is a lyrical genius to me. People may think that is shocking for me to like that music when I also love Keith Whitley. Someone else I really like is Dave Matthews. I would love to meet him.

As a fellow Alabamian, are you a AL or Auburn fan?

Roll Tide. But my husband is an Auburn fan.

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?

I would really like Cracker Barrel to put my music in the store and let me eat for free. I love Cracker Barrel. They can even keep the CD money, I just want the free food! I really like the sampler with meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, and ham. How can you go wrong with that. And with three sides! I wait for the days, Friday is catfish and Saturday is chicken and rice, I know this stuff, it’s bad!

Facebook: @AshtonShepherd
Instagram: @AshtonShepherdCountry

About Ashton Shepherd:
Nominee for the 2011 American Country Award for Female Music Video and 2009 Academy of Country Music Award Top New Female Vocalist, this southern belle was born and raised in the small Alabama town of Coffeeville. Growing up listening and singing along with greats such as Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless and Shania Twain, her passion for music grew stronger. In 2008, her debut album Sounds So Good produced two Top 40 hits Takin’ Off This Pain and the title track Sounds So Good. Her second album, Where Country Grows, includes the title single and the Top 20 hit Look It Up. She has been featured on Good Morning America, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone Magazine, Country Weekly, just to name a few. With over 91k followers on her Facebook page and growing daily, she has toured with the likes of Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Josh Turner, and more. www.Facebook.com/AshtonShepherd

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Mary Ann Kaylor Griffiths

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