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Stephanie Davis

Crocus in the Snow (Recluse) • Stephanie Davis

A cowboy's dream, and a rancher's delight. One of the sharpest pens and sweetest voices in Montana, with a big sky heart.

Stretch Davis and I go back quite a ways, and she's as fine a songwriter and a lady as I've been privileged to know. We spent our share of late nights at the IHOP or some other coffee den talking about the ins and outs of love and relationships, and music.

I remember one of these songs from those good days, "Just a Cup of Coffee." It reminds me that her friends knew how great and true her songs were before fame and fortune came calling. She's probably almost as self-deprecating as she was in those days, even though she has known great success with her music. Her Nashville days brought the focused attention of Garth Brooks as he was beginning his unparalleled rise, and before it was all over, she had written or co-written a handful of what became huge songs.

She bought a ranch in Montana and left the confines and agendas of Music Row far behind. When I tracked her down on the phone a couple of years later, she was running horses with a neighbor and herding sheep, and had a swing band going, with I forget how many fiddles. (She's a crack fiddler and plays cornet, too, on top of being a good guitar player.) "You ought to see us, all our bows are going in the same direction," she said. It made me laugh, and brought another memory to mind. I was talking with Stephanie way back in the day, with a few other guitar players, Jeff King and Chaz Williams. Stretch checked her watch and cocked her head, saying "Well fellas, I gotta go--it's time for My Three Sons." We three watched her tall figure striding away down to her black Converse high tops, and Jeff sighed, "What a woman..."

Stephanie is also a cowgirl poet, and "The Spotted Ass" is a sterling example. It's obviously live from A Prairie Home Companion, a program she's appeared on many times, often singing duets with Garrison Keillor, who sings here on "Turning to the Light." Other famous friends cameo as well, including Ray Benson, and Lloyd Maines. Lots of us have fallen in love with Stephanie Davis along the way, and so will many of you after you check the clips on the Listen page, and visit the artist's website, where you can purchase all three fine recordings of this frontier songbird. • FG

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