Heeeeeeere’s Johnny

former local returns for Country Jam – on bass

Gillian Ekern

EC native Johnny Stanton (right, formally of Florez-Stanton-Vaughn) plays bass for country star Heidi Newfield.

After recently notching two primetime television appearances and a national tour under his belt, it’s official; another musician with ties to the Chippewa Valley has hit the big time.

Though he has lived in Nashville the past few years, Johnny Stanton is a Memorial High School and UW-Stout art graduate. He began playing upright bass and cello in high school, and before long was touring the area with bands like Florez-Stanton-Vaughn and 715. Now he’s playing big shows all across the country.

“I’ve played a lot of different venues all over the United States,” he said. “I’ve done things like clubs, festivals, and casinos from California to New York.”

Stanton is most notably a bass player for country music singer Heidi Newfield (formerly of Trick Pony), and he’s been touring the country with her for a little over a year. It was for her band that Stanton plucked bass in front on millions for Late Night with Craig Ferguson and The Country Music Awards.

If you try to sum up the bassist in one word, it would likely be “versatile.” When he started playing in the area, he was mostly playing rock and blues. Since then, Johnny has played in horn bands, played R&B, and now he’s gone country. He has likewise played with a diverse list of musicians: Lewis Copeland, Sam Lay, James Solberg, Phillip Walker, Willie Earl King, and of course, Heidi Newfield.

It has been nearly four years since Stanton played a gig in the area, so it’s no wonder that his parents, who still live in the area, are excited to see him on stage at Country Jam on July 24. Neither have seen their son play since he left.

Stanton is pretty excited about playing the home crowd, too.

“I like getting to see the country and getting the opportunity to see all these different places. … But it will be a lot of fun to be back in the area,” he said. “I’m just ready to play some music and have some fun.”

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