Jessica Shepherd
©2009 Skylark Records
Review by Lucky Boyd

From the opening cut, Jessica Shepherd reminds you that her talent is intact and her project has reached the next level in Texas music offerings.  The opener is in six-eight time, which is usually a risky move, but Shepherd pulls it off as “Honky Tonk Angel” eases you into the album with something you can quick-waltz to.  It’s not the only cut you’ll dance to on this disc.  Shepherd’s maturation is evident as she delivers a country music album full of folk and blues influences, but remains true to the genre with her outstanding voice.  “5-Year Fling” expertly explores the duality of commitment wrapped in a ‘she can / he can’t” spin on an age-old subject.  “God By Your Side” is a feel-good ditty that offers “you’ll feel better.” In the midst of all that could be wrong, Shepherd explains an option in this near-gospel cut.  One of the most developed cuts is “Western Knight” with its duplicity of words and an uplifting whistle intro.  Nobody whistles anymore, so it’s good to hear, especially done so well.  You won’t find me using the word ‘cute’ very often, but “Humpty Dumpty” is quite simply a ‘cute’ song.  The nostalgic swing feel of this cut continues the lively personality of the album.  “Soldiers of Love” taps into Shepherd’s bluesy side with a story of surviving that offers “the impossible can be attained.”  “Do Your Damn Job” says it all to those of you who have ever had to deliver your trash to city hall just to make a point.  “Ethyl’s Purty Palace,” well… you have to respect a song about a beauty parlor, especially one in the great style of comedy that leaves you yearning for a Ray Stevens song.  Get your rockin’ boots on for “Victory” that is arguably the album’s most commercial cut lending itself to what might make an excellent single release from this disc.  The title cut rounds out the project and marries multiple feels to showcase Shepherd’s inimitable style.  Worthy of note, this album is Shepherd’s best yet, showing she can play with the big boys on the Texas music stage.