The youngest of nine children and hailing from Jenkintown, PA, Veronica Stanton was born more into a band rather than a family. She started playing fiddle in what was known in her home as the Stanton family singers, occasionally playing live events, but mostly playing traditional Irish and folk tunes and making up songs in collaboration with her siblings. When she was on her own in college, she became more dedicated to the craft. As her skills blossomed, she knew after graduation there was only one place she wanted to be: Nashville.
Stanton boldly immersed herself in the songwriting scene upon her move in October 2016. She performed in countless writers’ rounds and responded to an ad to begin vocal lessons with local musician, Erin Rae. After connecting with producer and owner of Nashville’s Goosehead Palace, Dan Knobler (Erin Rae, Michaela Anne, Caroline Spence, Lakestreet Dive) she began recording her first EP, 827 Miles, the distance from Nashville to her hometown. They tracked the songs live while Justin Francis engineered. Her newly minted mentor, Erin Rae, came in to track background vocals.
Now, three years later, and with a plethora of experience under her belt, she’s back with her debut album, Caught Up on a Feeling (09/16). With delicacy and understated power, she lays out her worldview, mixing acoustic Americana songcraft with dreamy strings, graceful keyboards, and subtle percussion. Caught Up is the sound of a young writer staking her claim.
The songs on the record date back to 2017, but much of the album rose out of the fear and sadness that everyone has felt over the past few years. “When I was writing a lot of these songs I was in a pretty dark headspace,” Stanton says. She was struggling with anxiety and depression, moving from Nashville back to her home state of Pennsylvania in 2020 and giving serious thought to throwing in the towel on a career in music altogether.
Then, something changed. “I realized I need to create music and need the joy I get from sharing it, even if it’s scary sometimes,” she says. “In the studio, I felt really free to try new ideas and get outside my comfort zone.”
On songs such as the graceful “Together Again” and the dark “I’m No Good,” she finds new depths of vulnerability in her writing, making for remarkably personal work. “Sorry if it Bothers You” finds Stanton confronting her emotions full-on, no matter who objects, while the mournful “So Long,” says goodbye to someone with whom she can simply no longer stay (“drink up every drop of my mercy ‘cuz I’m leaving it behind”).
While she tracked her first EP live in a day in 2018, this time Stanton decided to use the studio more to shape the songs rather than document them quickly. “I knew I wanted more control and I felt confident in my taste and style to make something that is really my own,” she says.
Stanton recorded the album from July to October 2021 at Elevated Music, Wilson Harwood’s studio in East Nashville. Over the course of 20 or so days, Harwood and Stanton built each song from the ground up, layering strings and drums. Look for Harwood on everything from acoustic guitar, banjo, and bass to Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and organ, with Connor Vance on violin, viola, and cello (in true 2022 fashion, arranging and recording the strings remotely from LA.) and John Papageorgiou on drums.
“One theme throughout the album is change,” Stanton explains, “whether it be about the resistance to change, the fear of what others will think of you, and then the freedom that comes from facing those fears and embracing change with all the pain and joy that comes with it.”
This Veronica Stanton, no longer writing songs to just get the feeling out, is now making statements that are ready to be universal, direct, and powerful.
“I believe that I made an album of songs that are honest to life and true to me,” Stanton says. “Some of them are years old, but I am just now ready to share them with others. My hope is that my music will reach people who feel alone in the world. I want my music to help someone through their struggles and give them hope that there are better times to come.”