ASHEBORO — A member of the 2019 CMT Next Women of Country class has fallen in love with Asheboro, not to mention one of its native sons.
Stephanie Quayle is returning to her adopted town Friday, March 10, for a performance in the Friends of the Library Sunset Signature Series. She’ll be joined by friend and collaborator, Tori Tullier, to sing their “On the Edge” album, followed by a question-and-answer session. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Sunset Theatre.
A native of Bozeman, Montana, Quayle was introduced to Asheboro by her husband, David Couch, who was a star three-sport athlete for Asheboro High School, graduating in 1980. He now owns Summerfield Farms in Guilford County.
“I’m so looking forward to it,” Quayle said last week in a telephone interview from their Nashville home. “I’m a fan of the town of Asheboro. I fell in love with the town and I’m glad I’m able to come back to adopt the town.
“There are not a lot of places where you feel a sense of community,” Quayle continued. “If you want to know what a community feels like, go to Asheboro.”
Quayle performed last summer at Bicentennial Park as the first Friday Rock’n the Park event. She was also the grand marshal of Asheboro’s Christmas Parade in December.
Growing up in Bozeman, Quayle lived on the farm of her mother and stepfather during the week and spent weekends at her father’s gun range. She said the thought of a musical career by a Montanan was considered a pipe dream.
But at the age of 16, she “ran away” to Switzerland as an exchange student. While there, she and a friend went to a cafe that had a band that was looking for a new singer.
“In my broken French, I offered myself,” Quayle said. “It was my first time on stage fronting a band. It felt like it made sense.”
Back home in Montana, she continued wondering if she could make a career in music. “I fell in love with singing and songwriting,” Quayle said. “I came back and had to be performing. Country was my purpose, but I sang whatever.”
At 19, she went to California hoping to jump start her career. “I was not ready for Nashville,” she said. “But the West was familiar.”
By 2010, after plenty of challenges, Quayle was working full-time in music. The next year she went to Nashville “knowing nothing. I had to learn from the ground up. I had to assume I knew nothing. You learn a lot more by listening and observing. I was getting my legs as a songwriter.”
Her big break came with her song, “Drinking with Dolly,” her first recording to go to major country radio. “It set the tone for the start of my Nashville career.”
Soon Quayle was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, which means you’ve been accepted by the establishment. Then CMT (Country Music Television) selected her in the 2019 class of Next Women of Country.
“To have a group of extraordinary women, all wanting to succeed and wanting for you to succeed, was such a gift, an honor,” Quayle said. “Doing things the right way, always striving to be better. As David says, ‘Endeavor for excellence,’ not looking for perfection but ‘Am I better?’ Better songs, better shows, connecting with people. That’s what music is all about.”
Quayle met Couch when she was in a “toxic relationship” with another man. NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was looking for someone to entertain during an event. A mutual acquaintance recommended Quayle and she came. At that time, she was introduced to Couch.
“It didn’t cross my brain with David,” she said. “I had to fix my life. Then I got that figured out.
“A year and a half later, David and I had a conversation,” Quayle said, describing the tete-a-tete as a “meteor shower.” She said she wondered about this man, “Do they really make them like this?”
Quayle said Couch is enjoying working on his farm, which has been successful at raising grass-fed beef and organic produce. The farm also hosts events such as weddings.
“He’s enjoying it,” she said. “He said hard work comes together. He wants to give back to Asheboro.”
Quayle and Couch will celebrate their eighth anniversary on June 20.
Tullier is a singer/songwriter who has worked with Quayle on four albums. Once, when Quayle was to play the Grand Ole Opry, she invited Tullier to play the piano and sing with her. The two plan to sing their music at the Sunset Theatre and share their experiences with the audience.
Quayle’s own success includes sharing the stage with Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt, among others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she appeared on Kelly Clarkson’s TV show remotely from their North Carolina farm.
Later, while working on a video promoting Montana tourism, Quayle was seated on a horse. Every time she spoke, the horse would interrupt her. She kept trying, but every time she spoke, the horse interrupted.
“The video went viral,” she said. Quayle was in Arizona when a friend called her to congratulate her for being on Ellen Degeneres’ TV show. “But I’m in Arizona,” Quayle said. Her friend told her Ellen was playing the viral video of her on the horse. That’s how she “ended up on Ellen’s show. But I physically want to be on the show in person.”
Quayle now has a show of her own, so to speak. She just launched a weekly podcast, “On The Edge with Stephanie Quayle.” The Podcast Republic app is available on Google Play Store.
Meanwhile, it’s likely that Asheboro will be seeing more of Stephanie Quayle, who has adopted the town. Or, has the town adopted her?