Ashton Shepherd will release her sophomore album, Where Country Grows, on July 12. “Look It Up,” the first single from the album, is the fastest rising single of Ashton’s career. This week, the track is at No. 21 on the Billboard Country Charts.
“You’ve got your first record behind you; you’ve learned some things,” Ashton said. “Your sophomore record – I heard from all these people – is supposed to be different. It’s supposed to be another factor and define you a little more. I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
On her debut album, Ashton wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs, co-writing with only one other writer. This time, she stepped outside her comfort zone to work with songwriters like Dean Dillon, Dale Dodson, Bobby Pinson and Troy Jones. The move worked.
“I was just a little scared of it, since I’d never co-written before,” Ashton said. “Once I started, I really, really enjoyed it. I felt like we had plenty of songs to choose from. So the angle on this record was trying to define Ashton Shepherd in a different way, maybe dig just a little bit deeper and try and put some different kinds of songs on it.”
Where Country Grows doesn’t just dig deeper into who Ashton is. It also adds a new element to her live shows. “This record is more tempo-heavy,” she said. “The first record was very country with all the ballads. It made it kind of hard to do live shows, because you had 11 songs and six of them were ballads. Now, we’ve got a good little handful of spunky songs that I think people will really like to sing along with and enjoy on this record.”
A new album isn’t the only thing Ashton has to look forward to. She and husband Roland Cunningham are expecting their second child this fall. Her four song EP, Look It Up, is available at digital retailers now.