Born and raised in Pikeville, KY, Kristi Ison Stanley was brought up among a rich history of bluegrass and country music, immortalized along the famous Country Music Highway. From her upstairs bedroom, Kristi recalls spending hours singing along with the legendary Dolly Parton and dreaming of becoming a big star. She recorded her own renditions of Dolly's songs, singing them over and over again until every note was perfect and then garnered the nerve to let her parents listen in. It was her Mom that convinced Kristi that she was good enough to consider singing for a bigger audience.
At 15, Kristi performed on the live radio show, Home Spun Country. The DJ, Tim Michaels, a musician as well, was quite impressed with her talent. It wasn't long before Tim and Kristi formed the band Sandy River, opening for National acts like Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Ricochet. Kristi continued to perform with her band throughout high school at music festivals, weddings, talent shows and radio stations, as well as the VA/KY Opry and The Mountain Arts Center.
The highlight of her career came when she was asked by Dr. Ralph Stanley to be a part of the Grammy nominated album "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts". She joined not only her hero, Dolly Parton, but other stars including Pam Tillis, Sara Evans and Chely Wright on the project. Kristi, just 18 years old, sang "I'll Never Grow Tired of You" with the bluegrass legend himself, and was both honored and humbled by the experience.