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The voice heard ’round Nashville

KINGSTON — In the Roslington home, big bay windows open up to a view of rain falling on the Puget Sound. Lightning flashes in the windows while thunder booms and rumbles the house. But it’s all in vain.

Inside, cowgirl-clad Kierston Roslington stands in front of the windows armed with her Tacoma Guitar, tremendous voice and sass. Her hand strums down on the guitar strings sharply and her crystal clear voice rises above the thunder and rain.

“I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad. I’m a product of my raisin’ and I say ‘hey y’all and ‘yee-haw.’ ”

It’s a cover by famous country music artist Gretchen Wilson and it is the same song that got Kierston noticed by another famous country music artist, John Rich of Big & Rich in Nashville.

“He said, ‘You have a kick ass voice,” said grinning Keirston with a slight southern twang she’s picked up from listening to her favorite country music. “He is cool and it was a major honor for him to say that.”

Kierston returned home last week from the country music epicenter after competing for a slot on television’s “Nashville Star” at the Gaylord Opryland. Those not familiar with the TV series, think “American Idol,” gone country.

She was one of 35 people out of 22,000 nationwide to receive a call back to audition.

As Kierston sets down her guitar she looks like she walked straight out of a country music video. She’s wearing black cowboy boots, a Western shirt and jeans held up by a silver and gold belt buckle. Her long, dark hair and features resemble a younger version of Wilson, her longtime idol. Although she presents herself in a way that makes her look years older, she’s still in high school. In fact, she just turned 16.

Because of her age she can’t compete for the title of “Nashville Star,” however she will still be featured on the TV series, said parents Terry and Heather. The series, produced by NBC, airs in June.

“John said if I was older he would have offered me a record deal right then and there,” Keirston said. “When I found out I couldn’t compete on the show I was disappointed but I looked John in the eye and I said ‘I will be back. You will see me again.’ And he told me ‘Good. I can’t wait to see you soon.’ ”

Soon could be this year. Kierston is going back to Nashville as soon as the Roslingtons sell their Kingston home.

The purpose: to give Kierston the best chance at following her life-long dream.

“We are so supportive of her,” Heather said. “We always believed in her and this can make all the difference.”

Kierston’s Nashville trip was worth it just to meet and talk to Rich, she said.

“The first thing I noticed was that he is handsome,” Kierston said. “He was fun to talk to, sincere, real. I remember saying ‘It’s a pleasure to be here in Nashville,’ and he had this death grip.”

Kierston said she has never experienced the feeling of being star-struck and feels that gave her an advantage over the other contestants.

“I want to be at the same level they are some day and I don’t want people coming up to me being all psycho,” she said. “It was like seeing a friend who just happened to be famous.”

Kierston is a self-described tomboy who grew up practicing martial arts, snowboarding, fishing and riding horses.

“The Paris Hilton types don’t sit well with her,” Heather said.

“Unless she wants to go mudding,” said Kierston laughing.

Kierston, a self-taught guitarist and song writer, was raised on country music and looks up to favorite artists including Toby Keith, Charlie Daniels, Tim McGraw and Tanya Tucker.

She is currently working on producing her first CD and hopes to have it out within the year.

“Country is my life,” she said. “There are no alternatives, no back up plan.”

Keep track of Kierston at www.myspace.com/kierstonroslington.

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