An artist with a clear sense or artistic direction is an artist with the potential to fire on all cylinders. Some artists have it from the get-go, while it takes others time to hone in on who they are as an artist and what they want to say.
With his forthcoming self-titled EP, set for release on August 20, Mississippi native Chance Stanley feels that he has zeroed in on who he is as an artist, and with that, comes a sense of confidence. He offered listeners their first taste of his new chapter with his 2020 single, “Folks in Alabaster,” a humorous story tune sure to strike a chord with anyone stuck behind that dreaded slow car in the fast lane.
Today, Pro Country is honored to give listeners another taste of Stanley’s EP in the form of the fiddle-laden single “Farmhouse,” which Stanley says was spawned from his surroundings and his grandparents’ home and tells a story of falling in and maintaining love. As with “Folks in Alabaster,” “Farmhouse” relies heavily on storytelling, which Stanley has certainly showed a knack for with each song.
Along with premiering “Farmhouse,” we chatted with Stanley about his early start in music and performing, honing in on his artistic identity, the story behind “Farmhouse,” what listeners can expect from his EP and more!
Pro Country: Who were some of your earliest musical influences who have had an impact on your sound?
Chance Stanley: Early on, my parents introduced me to classic country music; all the good stuff like Johnny Cash, Waylon, Merle and Willie is what I was raised on. Around high school though, I discovered Robert Earl Keen. His knack for storytelling really connected with me, and I’ve been hooked on writing story songs ever since.
PC: You recently released a mini-documentary video to Facebook where you mentioned that you have always had a passion for performing. What was it about performing that struck you at such a young age and drew you to pursue it?
CS: I love getting an emotional reaction out of people. Whether it’s laughing or crying, I want the audience to do one or the other. I also love the connection that performing creates with the crowd. Sometimes by the end of the show, the audience and I feel like best friends, and that’s a good feeling.
PC: When did that early interest in music translate into wanting to/realizing you could pursue music as a career?
CS: I picked up guitar lessons in High School, and started playing local gigs consistently while I was in community college. Playing and touring for a living was always a dream, but I decided I was going to do it right before my last semester of college at the University of North Alabama. I sat down and planned out a tour city list. I knew no one from the places on my list and I had no connections. I leaned on advice from other artists such as Pistol Hill and William Matheny. I just put my head down and got to work. I’m happy to say it panned out.
PC: You’re set to release your self-titled EP within a week, your first collection of tunes since your 2018 EP, Dry. What emotions are you feeling as release day approaches and those songs will soon be out into the world?
CS: I feel like this release is one that really shows off my sound and my confidence as an artist. Though I’m proud of my past work, I was still searching for “me.” I can honestly say I believe I found “me” in the making of the new project.
PC: The song we are premiering today, “Farmhouse,” is a true story inspired by your grandparents. Can you expand a bit and talk about the inspiration behind the song?
CS: A couple years after my grandparents passed away, my wife and I moved into their old house. Though we redecorated, we still kept some of their trinkets around. One night, I sat down in the laundry room and said, “I am not leaving this room until I write a song.” As I began looking around the room for inspiration, I saw a little red farmhouse figurine, and the first lines of the song just fell out. I consider “Farmhouse” to be a gift from my Mawmaw and Pawpaw.
PC: What information can you give about your forthcoming self-titled, debut EP? What can listeners expect to hear?
CS: My self-titled EP comes out August 20th. The project features some world-class musicians. Some of them include Benji Shanks, Andy Hall and Jeremy Garrett. There is even a featured artist on one of the tracks, Pistol Hill. The EP features some great country instrumentation. I truly believe if you like country music, you’ll definitely find something you like on this EP.
PC: Your EP was produced by Grammy-winning producer, Billy Hume. What was it like working with Billy and collaborating with someone who has had that level of success?
CS: Working with Billy is like taking a master class in the music business. He is not only knowledgeable, but he is also willing to share any and all information he has. I learned so much working with him. I can see how he has been so successful. The work atmosphere really pulled the best out of me, and I could tell he truly cared about the project and the intricate details.
PC: You were fortunate to continue to perform through the pandemic. Can you talk about what that experience was like for you?
CS: The experience is one I’ll never forget. Fellow artist Pistol Hill and I were able to tour a decent amount during it. From late July-December, we did around 70+ shows. We were doing it safe, and a lot of shows were outdoor. Being on the road during that time was a crazy experience. Different areas of the country were affected differently by the pandemic, and we saw that firsthand.
PC: Along with releasing and promoting your EP, of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?
CS: I recently became a dad, so I’m still working at changing a dirty diaper [laughs]. I will also be on the road both solo and with Pistol Hill on The Hillbillies and Guitars Roadshow.