Having a famous last name can be tough in the music business. Sure, it can open a lot of doors at first, but comparisons can be difficult when listeners compare you against a legendary artist. In other words, it may get you noticed, but in the end you have to deliver on your own merit.
That hasn’t been a problem for Kristi Stanley, who shares one of the most iconic names in the history of bluegrass music. Married to Ralph Stanley II, she has had every opportunity to absorb the music and the culture at the root, and has established herself this past few years as a vocalist deserving of note in our business.
You can judge for yourself with Kristi’s latest release, Heartbreak Hill, available today from 615 Hideaway Records. Stanley is out front on the lead vocal, supported by Steve Wilson on banjo, Deanie Richardson on fiddle, Blake Young on mandolin, Andrew Crawford on guitar, Glen Crain on reso-guitar, and Michael Branch on bass. Shawn Lane and Gena Britt provide the harmony vocals.
The song has an eerie sound, perfect for a dark story like the one told by songwriters Billy Droze, Ervan Parker, and Eddie Wilson. It combines a number of themes we hear in traditional music – infidelity, untaxed whiskey, a remote mountain setting, and ultimately, love lost to a known rival.
Stanley says that this song seemed fated to come to her.
“When we were researching material, Melanie (Wilson) suggested asking Billy Droze if he had anything that may suit me. I admire him so much as a songwriter and artist and crossed my fingers! He was actually writing that day and turned around and sent her something within the hour. I fell in love with Heartbreak Hill immediately. The story, the gritty, fearless drive, and the dynamic of the vocal that intensifies as you listen. I’m more than pleased to present this song, with 615 Hideaway Records, as the lead single for my forthcoming self-titled album. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!”
Check it out in the official lyric video.