“In the music business, as in life, you never know what may happen, but as long as I can continue doing what I love, I will be happy. Hopefully, I will be given the opportunity to showcase, as many others before me, that it is possible to love and take care of your family as a first priority, and pursue a career in the music with integrity, dignity and class a the same time.”
Born and raised in Pikeville, KY, Kristi Ison Stanley was brought up among a rich history of bluegrass and country music, immortalized along the famous Country Music Highway. From her upstairs bedroom, Kristi recalls spending hours singing along with the legendary Dolly Parton and dreaming of becoming a big star. She recorded her own renditions of Dolly's songs, singing them over and over again until every note was perfect and then garnered the nerve to let her parents listen in. It was her Mom that convinced Kristi that she was good enough to consider singing for a bigger audience.
At 15, Kristi performed on the live radio show, Home Spun Country. The DJ, Tim Michaels, a musician as well, was quite impressed with her talent. It wasn't long before Tim and Kristi formed the band Sandy River, opening for National acts like Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Ricochet. Kristi continued to perform with her band throughout high school at music festivals, weddings, talent shows and radio stations, as well as the VA/KY Opry and The Mountain Arts Center.
The highlight of her career came when she was asked by Dr. Ralph Stanley to be a part of the Grammy nominated album "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts". She joined not only her hero, Dolly Parton, but other stars including Pam Tillis, Sara Evans and Chely Wright on the project. Kristi, just 18 years old, sang "I'll Never Grow Tired of You" with the bluegrass legend himself, and was both honored and humbled by the experience.
"There are people that go through their entire career and not have the opportunity
to meet, much less record with, a true icon like Dr. Ralph Stanley!" ~Kristi
Kristi met her husband, Ralph Stanley II, while on vacation with her family in Nashville, sitting in at a taping of Prime Time Country, with then host Gary Chapman. Ralph II spotted Kristi in the audience while performing onstage with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, and they later met at the meet and greet following the show. Two years later, the couple were married and they now have two beautiful children Taylor Stanley and Ralph Stanley III. While staying home full time with her family has been a blessing, Kristi feels it's time to start performing again and has already entered the studio to start working on an exciting new album.
INTRODUCING RUNNING BLIND
Randy Blevins of Kingsport, TN is a self- taught musician, coming from a musical family learning to play bass and guitar at an early age, he performed with his family in church and with several local bands. Randy is no stranger to the bluegrass circle, he has received awards in NC, VA, and TN, individually as a guitarist and in band competitions. He is looking forward to joining Kristi and the band on guitar and some harmony vocals.
FIDDLE; HARMONY VOCALS
Ashley Davis is originally from Fayetteville, NC. Her parents encouraged her to pursue music, teaching her piano and guitar as a small child. Ashley enjoyed listening to Bluegrass on WQDR FM every Sunday night where she first heard Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. At age 13, Ashley taught herself fiddle and was mentored by Mr. Leslie Sandy, a former member of Bill Monroe's band, The Bluegrass Boys. By the time Ashley was 15 she was performing with the local bluegrass band in Fayetteville, Bill Jordan and Southern Bluegrass. Ashley freelanced as a fiddle player with various bands throughout high school. She has been a member of The Parsons band, Sweet Potato Pie and Appalachian Trail. In 2007, Ashley recorded her first solo album, "Fiddlin' with Les," which is titled in honor of her musical mentor. She moved to Johnson City, TN in 2010 and graduated with a BBA Marketing degree from East Tennessee State University. Ashley has recently joined Kristi Stanley & Running Blind as a fiddler, vocalist and booking agent. She wears many hats with the band and is excited to work and play music with such awesome people!
BASS; HARMONY VOCALS
Vickie Austin began singing at an early age with her dad in church. At age 13, her parents bought her an upright piano for her birthday. She sang and recorded two gospel music projects with her sister. She also won several talent competitions throughout her teenage years, including Kingsport Idol, where she continued to help judge for many years following her first place win. In time, Vickie joined and recorded a bluegrass album with the Twin Springs Bluegrass Band, singing lead and playing upright bass. Eventually joining her husband, Tommy, in Appalachian Trail, she has continued to perform and record with for the past twelve years. During this time, Vickie has also recorded the vocals and bass work on an ATC Heating and Air commercial, has recorded a political ad commercial, and has been a musical extra in the upcoming biographical movie about the original 1927 Carter Family recordings, “Born in Bristol”. Along with vocals and bass, Vickie also shares her story through songwriting, and has had one of her songs reach the top ten in the International Bluegrass Music Awards songwriting competition. Vickie is honored and excited to begin a new musical adventure as a part of Kristi Stanley’s band.
MANDOLIN; HARMONY VOCALS
Tommy Austin played guitar and sang with his mother in church growing up in Fall Branch, TN. Eventually switching to mandolin, Tommy has played and recorded in several bands including; The Horsecreek Mountain Boys, Clear Creek, The Rising Wind, Limited Edition, Tennessee Skyline, and The Hopsons. The past several years, Tommy has played with his wife, Vickie, in Appalachian Trail. Tommy has traveled across the United States, as well as tours in Ireland, Scotland, and England playing bluegrass. Also, contributing songwriting talents, Tommy has had songs recorded by artists such as Mark Newton, Josh Williams, and the Daughters of Bluegrass. Tommy’s song, “A Christmas Tear” was chosen in the top three in the Chris Austin songwriting competition at Merlefest. Tommy is pleased to be a new member of Kristi Stanley’s band.
Travis began his musical journey as a young teenager in Chilhowie Virginia when he first started performing with his family's gospel band. Throughout college at Virginia Highlands, he also performed with several local bluegrass bands. After receiving an associates degree in Business Administration, he transferred into East Tennessee State University to join the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Program. Travis had the honor of touring with the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band while pursuing a bachelors degree in Advertising. Before graduating, he also began touring with Barry Scott and Second Wind. In 2010, Travis received one of the highest honors in the music industry being nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the band's debut record, In God's Time. Travis was also a founding member of the band Monroeville in which he received the Horizon Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Throughout his musical career, Travis has been blessed with the honor of performing on stage with many great artists including Porter Wagoner, George Hamilton IV, and Ralph Stanley. Travis currently resides in Sevierville Tennessee with his wife Amanda and their baby boy, Grayson.