The last time Stephanie Quayle was in Frederick, it rained. And it rained hard. She was part of the WFRE Country Stage lineup in Baker Park on the Fourth of July. But rain or no rain, Quayle set up in a little tent and put on a little show.
If you missed that, you have a second chance to see the country artist Rolling Stone Country and others have named one of 2018’s artists to watch. Quayle, along with Trent Harmon (“There’s A Girl,” “You Got ‘Em All”), will be in concert tonight at Champion Billiards Sports Bar, 5205 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, for the July 4th Take 2 concert, hosted by WFRE. Doors open at 7 p.m.
“Frederick is one of my favorite places,” Quayle said in a recent phone interview. “I love [Champions]. We’ve played there before with WFRE and they’re supporters of St. Jude [Children’s Hospital].”
The Montana native grew up on a farm, where the family raised bison, horses, cattle and chickens. The barn was her country music stage as she tuned the radio to a country station while mucking the muck from the stalls. Even then, she knew her destiny was music.
“I started singing when I was a teeny tiny girl, singing in the choir, singing in church, singing anywhere anyone would let me sing,” Quayle said.
As a junior in high school, she was an exchange student to Switzerland and there found herself on stage with a band that had just lost its lead singer. She auditioned and was hired. The band played all genres and put no boundaries on instrumentation, “which really was good for me,” she said.
“That was my after-school program. That’s when I knew this would be my life,” Quayle said. “I didn’t know how it would happen, but I knew it would.”
Back in the States, she moved to the West Coast, singing, songwriting and learning from other artists.
“I was singing and songwriting until I knew in my gut it was time to move to Nashville,” she said. “I knew it would be my life. My gut, my heart said it’s now.”
That was in November 2011.
She met other songwriters, went to showcases and started over.
“I basically threw out what I knew and started from the ground up,” Quayle said.
She went to songwriter nights and watched other songwriters perform with just their voice and an acoustic guitar, and that “just got hold of me. As a songwriter, to be able to sound so raw, vulnerable” was inspiring to her.
Her current album was released in September 2017 and features the single, “Drinking with Dolly.” Written by Rachel Proctor and Victoria Banks, Quayle said the first time she heard the song “the little hairs stood up on my arms and the tears just flowed.” She named it and claimed it but had no idea it would be the first of her songs to chart on Billboard, the first song she would sing on national television or the first song she would sing at her Grand Ole Opry debut, which was in April 2018.
“This song, from the first time I heard it, it just struck a chord,” Quayle said.
It’s a tribute to the women of country music — Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, among others — and how awesome it would be to sit around the table with those women and have a drink and talk.
“I consider myself a modern traditionalist,” she said. “It’s what I’m driven to. I love country music. I love bending the boundaries of that, but you can’t take out my twang. It’s always authentic in my voice.”
When her schedule allows it, Quayle travels from show to show in a 2015 Winnebago, which also happens to be the title of a song, one of the six she co-wrote for her “Love The Way You See Me” album.
In summer 2017, Quayle traveled 9,000 miles, crisscrossing the country and “living the song,” staying at KOA Campgrounds performing in music venues and popup shows at campgrounds. KOA was a tour sponsor.
A few of the songs are inspired by her husband, David, whom she calls her muse. Take the new single “Selfish,” which is “1,000 percent” inspired by David. It’s a song that puts a positive spin on a negative word and it hits home for Quayle who said that the couple spends so much time apart that when they are together, she is a little selfish when it comes to sharing him with friends.
“Post It” is also inspired by her husband who leaves little post-it notes for her.
“It’s a fun song to sing and it’s real life,” she said.
“Shoebox,” is also a true story from her life, she said, and about sorting through memories after a breakup.
Songwriters are always on when it comes to listening for song ideas, she said. “I’ve Got Your Six” was inspired by words of the man who married Stephanie and David, she said. It’s a military way of saying “I’ve got your back.” “Second Thoughts,” a duet with Lucas Hoge, was triggered by a phone conversation with her little brother.
“He just said, ‘I gotta go. I need another round of second thoughts.’ I said, ‘Wait, what did you just say … No way, I’m the one who’s gotta go’,” and soon a song was born.
Quayle said her show at Champions will be “a modified acoustic show, sort of quasi acoustic and quasi electric. “It will be a really special night!”
You can read more of Susan Guynn’s interview with Stephanie Quayle at her blog, Three Chords and the Truth, at blog.fredericknewspost.com.