Stoney Creek Bluegrass Band has announced the July 1 release of "Memories & Tears", a new album featuring the music of Deanna Stottlemyer.
"All of the songs were written by my late sister, Deanna. She passed away 12 years ago and she left a big pile of music," says Stoney Creek's Libby Files.
The album's first single, "Come Stay Awhile", was released on May 1, along with a music video filmed at Sleepy Creek Lake in Berkeley County, W.Va.
"Memories & Tears" was released to radio broadcasters on June 15 via AirPlay Direct, and the album went to #1 on the website's Top 50 Albums chart. The album's 11 tracks also held the top 11 spots on AirPlay Direct's Top 50 Singles chart.
Stottlemyer had performed and recorded six of the songs, leaving Stoney Creek with a blueprint for their rendition. Stottlemyer's and Files' mother, Ruby Kindle, then gave Files an additional five songs that only existed as lyrics on paper.
"Some of them she sang in her band, but then my mom gave me a stack of songs that she wrote and said 'why don't you do something with these?' So that's what I did," Files says. "Over the last six months, I put my style of bluegrass music to them. They all turned out pretty good."
Files wrote music for three of the new songs ("Give Them All To Jesus", "Won't It Be a Happy Time?", and "Keep Your Eyes Toward Heaven"). By this time, Kenton Catlett, who had played in Stottlemyer's band, joined Stoney Creek. He remembered writing music to one of the songs ("Someone To Share the Load") years earlier. Catlett also composed new music for Stottlemyer's final song, "Some Sweet Day", which he performs on the album in his lead vocal debut with Stoney Creek.
"I give the guys credit; they're all singing on it with me," Files says. "It's a project that I started mainly for my mom and dad; that's why I called it "Memories & Tears". I wanted to get all of my sister's music on a CD for them. There are 11 songs on the project - six are gospel songs and five are traditional bluegrass. I tried to keep them with a traditional flavor."
Stoney Creek has been praised as "mainstream bluegrass at its best" by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine. Frank Jurney of the Berryville Bluegrass Series has noted that "Libby Files is among the rising number of female vocalists who are making a big impact on bluegrass music."
"Memories & Tears" is the first project to feature Stoney Creek's current lineup, including Libby Files on vocals and bass, Brett Smeltzer on mandolin and vocals, Kenton Catlett on guitar and vocals, and Troy Stangle on banjo and vocals.