Stephanie Quayle’s new EP If I Was a Cowboy embodies the perseverance, resilience and passion that she radiates. The new project, which follows her 2017 album Love the Way You See Me, carries these themes across five songs.

If I Was a Cowboy begins with Quayle's self-described “cowboy state of mind” in its title track. Originally released as a single in early 2019, the song recalls memories of her childhood growing up in Montana with a mother she refers to as "the greatest cowboy in the history of the world.” She stays the course on “Evel Knievel,” is light and breezy on “Whatcha Drinkin’ ‘Bout?,” remains open to the power of learning on “Second Rodeo” and accepts that we’re all still trying to figure life out in the open-ended story “Untitled.”

"I think I just felt very authentic," Quayle tells Taste of Country about recording the EP, which incorporates the baritone guitar and telecasters of the western sound on which she was raised. "I think it's a very honest depiction of all the different parts of my life."

While each song serves a purpose, “Evel Knievel” is the one she cites as most personal. Written by Quayle, Karen Kosowski and “Selfish” co-writer Tori Tullier, the song is seeping with determination. Inspiration struck when Quayle was sitting in Kosowski’s studio and looked up to see a poster of legendary stuntman Evel Knievel on the wall. The singer embraces him as a kindred spirit, not only because of their connections to Montana (he was a Butte native), but also due to the fearlessness he exhibited through such stunts as attempting to get across the Snake River Canyon in a rocket.

In “Evel Knievel," Quayle calls on images of soaring eagles and wild horses to personify that same free spirit. The bridge, which features the meaningful message “Takes one part crazy / One part leap of faith / And even if you’re going down in flames / Run like a wild horse,” always causes her to choke up during her live show, she says. She the message linger a few extra seconds before launching into the chorus, believing every word.

"I listen to that song whenever I'm in question of things," Quayle explains of feeling discouraged or pondering which direction to follow. "The chorus is so powerful because it's even if you can't see it, you have to believe it -- you have to believe in yourself so much that you can get to the point of seeing it.”

For the woman who grew up venturing across the wide-open western landscape on horseback, the images of soaring eagles and wild horses symbolize freedom. She describes visions of a tree that overlooks the Yellowstone River near her Montana home and how each time she visits, she sees a bald eagle sitting on a perch that takes off soaring into the open abyss.

“To me, it doesn't get better than that,” she observes. “I think when you think about those moments personally, you can't help but feel a little bit stronger, a little bit more willing."

This resilience also shines through on the Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley and Ross Copperman-penned closer, “Untitled,” particularly in the line “The best parts ain’t even happened.” Quayle knows these words well, comparing her mentality to that of a race horse rearing at the starting gate, waiting for the starting bell.

“I always say what is said in between the songs is as important as the song,” she states. So what is she saying in between these five songs? "I think that everything is possible through hard work, dedication, and there's nothing greater than earning whatever your spot is,” she reflects.

"If you want to know me," Quayle concludes, "you can know me through my songs."

If I Was a Cowboy is available now.

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