"It was the strangest connection," English says. "I had read the book but never seen the . When I found out I was working with her (Shepherd), I had to see the movie. Then I found out she was big buddies with Larry McMurtry, and I love him. So it was kind of a neat thing."
"Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith" is the project that brought English and Shepherd together. The movie is about Alice Washington (Shepherd), a divorcee who returns to college as part of a program designed to help women re-enter school. English plays Zoe, a moody 20-year-old who winds up as Alice's roommate.
The chemistry between the two is one of the highlights of the film. English says the camaraderie extended off-camera as well.
In fact, much of English's time seems to be spent juggling the two careers. She lives in Los Angeles but is planning to relocate to Nashville. BrokeDown Cadillac is getting ready to tour. And the group appeared on-screen in this year's "Race to Witch Mountain."
"I've had some luck with music lately, so I'm having to prioritize it more," she says. "Music has always been what I've done in my spare time, but when the writers' strike happened, I took the opportunity to record the album and things just fell into place. Acting used to be the priority, but now music is like a real career."
She has had more than luck. Along with Kristian Bush and Kristen Hall, she wrote "Fly Away," which was featured on Sugarland's mega-successful album "Twice the Speed of Life."
English is chatty and open, so it brought up the question: Does a songwriting credit on a triple-platinum album mean you can essentially take a vacation for the next few years?
"Well, royalties have to do with it being on the album and then there's a lyric percentage, and it's all really crazy," she says with a laugh. "They break it down into pennies. If it was a single, it could have paid off a mortgage. As an album cut, it's a really nice bonus."