The Luncheonette

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Country Artist Stephanie Ryann Kicks Up Some Dirt with Her New Single “Gravel”

The business of country music is not what most people think. When I first started Southern Fellow, I was an outsider like many of you. I thought it was a genre where people could tell honest stories, and if they did this well enough, they could make it big and be on the radio. But, unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Most people in power are not country fans themselves, and their focus is not on people but money. I would say that the relationship between a label and country radio is similar to a drug company and doctors. If you aren’t in the program and have no perks, you are invisible. That said, labels have enough cash to provide both of those to country radio. “Gravel,” the latest single from country artist Stephanie Ryann made me think about this and how much dirt she is willing to kick up on the road her music career is on.

I have experienced the dark side of country radio myself recently. Stephanie is going to play for our Girls Night Out concert. I reached out to an Orlando country station to purchase some ad space to promote the event. I told them what I was doing and ask if they wanted to be involved, and it was the coldest “No” I have ever received. If they told me to go “F” myself, it would have come across as a friendlier response. Instead, they simply wanted me to hand them $3000 with no mention of Stephanie or the other female artists. No interviews or introductions. Absolutely nothing. They just wanted my money and run a few 30-second ads. Then, after I said no thanks, the emails came. It felt like they were a debt collector, and I owed them.

That conversation brings me to Stephanie’s new single “Gravel”. I love it! I think it’s one of her best songs to date. The story is upbeat, and as a small-town boy, I can relate to “Gravel.” Also, Stephanie will give me some grief for saying this, but I find a little humor in “Gravel”. Stephanie’s own story is the reverse of this song. She traded bright, big city lights for an old country road. Two years ago, I never would have believed the transition would stick, but here we are. I honestly think country music is better with her in it.

“Gravel” is a great tune, and you should listen to it. It is one of my all-time favorite singles from Stephanie. That said, many of you will not. Why? Because you are not being force-fed the song. Radio stations and record labels make a science out of forcing you to listen to what they want you to listen to. As a result, the top few in-house rated songs consume most of the airtime.

Where does that leave Stephanie Ryann? To be honest, in a pretty impossible situation. She will have to kick up at a lot of dirt for songs like “Gravel” to get the attention they deserve. It’s a bare-knuckle fight that most independent artists simply lose. The music business takes a team of people to be successful, and labels can build one fast for an artist they get behind.

Why would an independent artist run the gauntlet in the pursuit of a dream to make music? They believe you are the x-factor. Stephanie Ryann, like many others, looks at you as part of their team. You are not just a slice on a pie chart feeding data to ads. You are a person with your own story. Stephanie’s only hope is songs like “Gravel” are part of the soundtrack to that story.

"Gravel" Official Video


My faith in Stephanie Ryann’s capabilities as an artist has grown tremendously with the release of “Gravel”. I believe that many who give it a listen will relate to it as I have. Therefore, I highly recommend you add it to your playlist. All the links you need are below. Also, if you want to learn more about Stephanie, check out her full interview on our Feed the Band series. While you are listening, try the recipe for Citrus Infused Creme Brulee she inspired.

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