About 18 months ago, Stacy was asked to speak to an auditorium of high
school aged students in the county where she grew up.  McDowell County,
West Virginia is listed as one of the poorest in the nation and is often exploited
by outsiders for its struggles with poverty, drugs, and all the problems that arise
as a result of these things.  "How many of you think you're at a disadvantage
because you live in McDowell County?" she asked the students.  Nearly every
hand in the audience went up.  She asked a few to explain why they felt that
way.  "Because there's nothing here, really.  You have to get away from here to
be able to do anything.  It's like everything you want to do has to be on hold until
you can get out."  She agreed there are challenges and frustrations and, in
many ways, that folks from McDowell - and places like it - have to work twice as
hard just to be even with the pack.  But she asked them to look with a different
perspective.  "Your viewpoints, your experiences, your inspirations, what you're
exposed to is rare in comparison.  You're one of a handful," she told them.  "In
other towns, you could be one of several thousand.  Your voice comes from a
place that very few see and even fewer know.  You can do big things because
you're from McDowell County - not in spite of it."

Stacy's own songwriting is a testament to the tradition of storytelling so rich in
the Appalachian mountains she calls home.  Following the 2009 release of her
debut album
Hurricane, a 12 song project, 9 of which were written by Stacy,
some critics were quick to call her themes "too dark," and even "too
Appalachia."  Still, others have appreciated the album for those very same
reasons.  "The tunes on
Hurricane weren't written for any other reason than to
write them.  I mean, I had no reason to believe I or anybody would ever
professionally record them.  In fact, I assumed they would never be heard by
anyone other than me and maybe my husband and dad.  They were just ideas
or feelings or experiences that I wrote about for the fun of it.  But long story
short, God opened doors and these tunes that I wrote in the shower or during
long car rides were now being played by people like Ron Block and Brent
Mason in a Nashville studio.  It was crazy.  I was watching Ron, listening to him
live as he was putting banjo on one of the tunes and I thought to myself, 'This is
insane!  I remember trying to come up with that melody while washing my hair
and running out all the hot water.  And now Ron Block is playing that melody.  
What's going on with my life?'"

Hurricane saw moderate success in the US and caught on even better
throughout Europe, with singles from the record reaching number one in
several countries and the title track spending months on the Pan-European
Country Music Radio Chart.  Those dark, Appalachian themes and the curious
blend of instruments - dobro, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle alongside electric
guitar, piano, and orchestral strings -  struck a chord with the alt-country,
bluegrass, and Americana crowd.  Arguably the strongest presence of the
record is Stacy's eerie crystalline vocal that flows with equal parts sadness and
rebellion against the pain.
   

It was several years in the waiting for the opportunity to return to the studio to
present itself.   During that time, though, Stacy built a rapport with other
musicians and songwriters whom she had admired for years.  She remembers
© 2009-15 by Stacy Grubb | website designed by Jason R. Grubb Artist Management
one night during IBMA WOB when she was approached by a gentleman after she
had completed a showcase set who asked her if she ever accepted songs from
other writers.  She was encouraging him to give her a card when she glanced at a
name tag he was wearing and realized she was talking with Mark Simos.  "I was
instantly star-struck.  I first was introduced to his writing on an AKUS album.  I was
crazy about these two songs they recorded and later I was going through my dad's
CD's and noticed he had an entire Mark Simos record.  I was like, 'Oh my gosh, it's
that guy!  That guy who wrote those songs!'"  It was at IBMA WOB the following year
that she ran into him again and he sang for her a tune that he had written in the 90's
and was uncut by any other artist.  She loved it and he had emailed her the demo
and chart before the week was out.  It was months before she was able to begin
work on her second project, but Mark was content to hold the song for her.  "I don't
take it lightly that these songwriters were so patient to put their songs on hold for
me."  The other songwriter that she's referring to is John Pennell, known best for
tunes like "Every Time You Say Goodbye" and "Too Late To Cry" recorded by Alison
Krauss.  "John sent me this song and I just loved it.  It stayed stuck in my head all
the time.  He sent it to me not long after I'd released
Hurricane and I'd planned on
being able to do a follow-up project pretty soon.  That turned into about a three year
wait.  I can't believe he let me hold onto it that long, but he did.  And I was almost too
nervous to even get the thing sang.  Clay [Hess, Producer] said to me, 'You're
singing this very quietly.  Is that by design or what?'" She laughs.  "It wasn't.  I'd just
really built that one up in my head.  I wanted it to be worth John's wait."  In addition to
those tunes, she also has a Waylon Jennings cover, one written by hometown
friends Barry and Danny Clevenger, and has again pulled from her dad's, songwriter
Alan Johnston ("Sweet Appalachia," "Muddy Water," "Hurricane"), repertoire.  The
remaining tracks were written by Stacy, including one co-written with her then 4 year
old son, Elijah.

"I can't even explain how much I believe in this record.  It's hard to describe what that
means.  It's not that I think it's going to be universally loved or burning up the radio.  
But they're just songs that I love, musicians and writers that I love, themes that I
love.  The people on this record are my friends and even my family.  Clay took me to
just the right place.  Of course, I can't predict how others will or won't feel about it.  
But I listen to what we've got and think, 'This is a good project.'"  Unlike her debut
album,
From the Barroom to the Steeple is an all acoustic album comprised of Clay
Hess, Irl Hees, Aaron Ramsey, Randy Kohrs, Scott Vestal, Tim Crouch, and Ron
Block.

In October, 2013, Stacy joined the ranks of a country tradition when she is officially
inducted as a member of the Wheeling Jamboree.  Not since Brad Paisley has an
artist been invited into the Wheeling Jamboree family.  Her dad joined her for her first
few appearances on the Jamboree, making three generations of her family to
perform on the historic stage, beginning in the 1950's with her papaw Raymond
Johnston, fiddler for Cecil Surratt and His West Virginia Ramblers. And befitting of
any country song, Cecil was the great uncle of Stacy's husband.  "Music and stories
live on and on," she says with a smile.  "And nowhere are either richer than right
here in Appalachia."