Rising country artist Stephanie Quayle brought the backwoods to the Staller Center for the Arts’ Recital Hall on Friday night to promote her newest album, “Love the Way You See Me.” The performance featured songs from both her album and several covers of classic country songs.
“The stage is the only place I don’t feel like a fish out of water,” Quayle said. “When I’m up there I want the audience to be able to get lost in the moment and not think about the world around them.”
Quayle took the stage a little after 8:15 p.m. in a silver, sequined dress and the party was underway. Her band led her into the first song of the night, “Love the Way You See Me.” From the very first song, she was dancing along with band members during instrumentals. The Recital Hall’s intimate setting made audience interaction a theme throughout the night.
At multiple points during the concert, the singer stepped off the stage into the crowd to talk to audience members. Quayle even invited an audience member on stage to play tambourine during the finale song, “Winnebago.”
Before introducing “Selfish,” the singer asked the audience “guess what radio station gave this song one of its first plays ever?” Concertgoers called out their best guesses. Her hometown of Bozeman, maybe? Nashville? Dallas?
“Nope,” Quayle said. “96.1 FM Long Island was one of the first stations to play this song in the entire country.”
“Selfish,” is about a woman who desperately wants to be alone with her boyfriend. The woman’s boyfriend is an extremely busy person and everyone is vying for his limited time. The woman then finally gets a night alone with her man after letting everyone else know that for one night, he’s all hers.
The singer also covered country staples including Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Waylon Jennings “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” In a genre that is historically a boy’s club, Parton is held above all as the model female country artist, especially by Quayle.
“Ever since I was little, Dolly Parton has held a special place in my heart,” Quayle said. “She heavily influenced who I am as an artist.”
She paid tribute to her love of Parton in her single “Drinking with Dolly,” which has garnered over 650,000 streams on Spotify. The song is an ode to the women of country music, and traces a direct line to where Quayle is as an artist. Now that she is a peer to all these female country music stars, she feels a deep connection to those who’ve come before her.
The show at the Staller Center came two weeks after Quayle performed at the “Deep from the Heart: One America Appeal” concert for hurricane relief at Texas A&M University. The show was attended by the five living former presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W and George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “It was a phenomenal honor and a privilege to play for such a good cause, my fellow Americans in a time of need,” Quayle said.
After the show, the singer stayed in the lobby of the Staller Center handing out hugs and autographed pictures. Quayle made it a point to thank everyone in the lobby for coming out to the show.
“Your time is the most valuable thing someone has,” the artist said. “If I don’t make a concert worth it, you could just [stay home and] listen to the CD.”
“I’m not even really a country music person,” concertgoer Cliff Richard said holding an autographed publicity photo outside the concert hall. “But, I can appreciate an artist giving it their all on stage, it was a good show.”