Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford
During the week of July 19, 2020, bluegrass veteran performer, radio host and songwriting great Steve Gulley could not take the pain in his stomach anymore. After going to his doctor to do some tests and take a CT scan, he was called back into the office on July 23 to get the devastating news that a massive cancer tumor had taken over his pancreas and had spread to his liver and lungs. By August 18, he had lost his battle.
In a matter of hours, your life can change on a dime with the end coming quick, so now is the time to make things right with your friends and family, and pursue your art while you are capable. And that is what happened with Steve Gulley with this wonderful album Still Here, recorded with his longtime friend and fellow songwriter Tim Stafford.
While the back story is heart breaking, the quality of this new recording is sweet and personal, presenting a final showcase for Gulley. With Stafford on guitar and lead vocals and Gulley on lead vocals along with Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Barry Bales on bass, Thomas Cassel on mandolin and Dale Ann Bradley on harmony vocals; all 11 songs were written by these two long-time Tennessee friends.
Highlights from Still Here include bluegrass gems “Livin’ Shouldn’t Be This Hard,” “There Ain’t No Good Way To Go,” and “Long Way Around the Mountain,” an excellent song about coal miners fighting for their rights. Also featured are some country-influenced cuts such as “So Far,” the beautiful song about a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease called “She Comes Back To Me When We Sing,” and a remembrance of simpler times with “Back When It Was Easy,” thoughts Gulley most likely experienced as his fateful end grew near.