Rachel Farley Has No Trouble Fitting in With the Boys
Rachel Farley may be the only female soloist performing on June 14 at the Taste of Country Music Festival, but she won’t have trouble fitting in. The 18-year-old Georgia-born newcomer is no delicate flower. Her single ‘Ain’t Easy’ serves as an autobiography, and she cut her teeth playing Georgia bars with Brantley Gilbert before she could legally drive a car.
“I think one of my favorite things I’ve ever done is shoot a fully automatic machine gun,” Farley tells Taste of Country, coming alive with excitement. “That’s pretty cool.” Okay … street cred? Check.
“You just gotta make sure you keep it down and don’t shoot up cause it likes to go up and take you with it,” she shares, giving a little laugh as she says it. Her conversational voice, much like her singing voice, is rich, confident and deeper that many women making ripples today. ‘Ain’t Easy’ is a bluesy, country-rocker that begins with the story of her great-grandfather running moonshine in Georgia.
“I am totally sure you can find moonshine in many of my family member’s houses,” Farley says, laughing once again.
Try to remember that this girl hasn’t quite graduated from high school yet, and that she’s not able to legally enter many of the bars in Nashville. Not that this concerns her — on an off night, you’re probably going to find Farley at home resting. She’s not the going out type — in fact she skipped the CMT Music Awards, opting to watch friends like Florida Georgia Line pick up their awards from the comfort of her living room.
Gilbert was the first to befriend Farley after meeting her a mutual gig. “I started playing all of these college bars with him,” she says. “Just me and my guitar, opening up for him. We just kind of hit it off right off the bat and he kind of adopted me.”
This is before the ‘Country Must Be Country Wide’ singer was famous nationally, and before fiance Jana Kramer seemingly softened his rough exterior. Farley says her surrogate big brother is a big softie. The same can be said for some of the other tough country men who look after her. Colt Ford, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan … all have helped her with priceless advice.
At times, Farley will drop reminders that she is a normal teen with a super cool job. She covers Katy Perry during her live show. She ghermed out on Bryan during her first CMA Music Festival, singing every word to every song at a show in front of what is now the Bridgestone Arena.
“I remember him noticing me in the crowd, and he kept kind of laughing at me,” she reveals. “He sang like an entire verse to a song staring right at me and just made my whole day.”
She can’t wait to graduate, although the homeschooler has no plans to walk the stage and accept her diploma in person. “When I’m done, I’ll just be done,” she insists. “Move on with life. It will be great.”
Her debut album will bring fans back to reality, however. In addition to ‘Ain’t Easy,’ Farley promises 15 other tracks like ‘My Daddy’s Song,’ a promise to her father who died of cancer when she was 16. She wrote the song the morning of his funeral and performed it at the service. She says it is “everything I was feeling in that moment” — a promise to make him proud.
Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry and Justin Moore are among the stars Farley will open for at the Taste of Country Music Festival on June 14 (the inaugural three-day fest in Hunter, N.Y. also features Lady Antebellum and Willie Nelson). She may not have the hits like the company she’ll keep that night, but it’s difficult to imagine this strong teen cowering around the veteran group. She says she’s already played with most of them at previous festivals, and she’s certainly paid her dues in terms of shows and heartache.