You'd think that by now the country-music universe would have no room left for rising stars. Fortunately, there's some clear space available for the extraordinarily talented Ashton Shepherd, whose first MCA Nashville CD, "Sounds So Good," was just released.
An Alabama native who won her first talent contest at the age of 8, Shepherd's voice is country in its most classic Loretta Lynn-like form with a contemporary and refreshing approach. Listen to 10 seconds of the CD's first track, "Takin' Off This Pain," and you'll know Shepherd will be carrying off tons of hardware from next year's music award shows.
A gritty voice combined with writing genius beyond her 21 years, plus supermodel looks, means a new star is here for music fans to enjoy.
For more info: www.ashtonshepherd.com
When it comes to a nice family dinner, what sounds good to you?
"Fried deer meat, baked beans, brisket, mac and cheese and potato salad."
There are lots of peanut fields around your hometown. Are peanuts part of your diet?
"Not really. When I do, I like them boiled."
You have a song on the CD called "Whiskey Won the Battle." How about a funny story of how whiskey had an impact on a friend or family member?
"Oh dear, everything I'm thinking of has happened to me! Well, there was a time a friend of mine did run into a door so hard he knocked his braces loose. He turned to us and said ‘That didn't hurt,' but we knew it did because the brace bracket was holding his lip up!"
Someone visits Alabama for the first time. Pick one restaurant they must visit for some real home cooking.
"The StageCoach Cafe in Stockton. They have a great buffet with all kinds of country cooking.
SUNDAY FRIED VENISON AND MAC & CHEESE DINNER
2 pounds venison tenderloin
Cooking oil or grease
Season meat with Creole seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste on a cutting board, and then tenderize the meat. Place meat in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Flour the meat. Heat oil in pan and fry meat on medium/high until done.
Mac & Cheese
2 cups of cooked elbow macaroni
8 ounce chunk of mild cheddar cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 block Velvetta cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup (NOT diluted)
Melt cheeses and soup into the macaroni; add milk to desired consistency. Pour mixture into glass baking dish. Bake at 350 F until done and crispy on top.
© 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.