Joey Ringhausen and Dylan Stubblefield
By Amy Patterson
Bowling Green Times
“It’s a bonfire Saturday night, You can drink a few beers don’t let it run your life, ‘Cause you gotta be at church on Sunday morning, ‘Yes sir,’ ‘Yes ma’am,’ Treat ‘em with respect, Yeah that’s who I am, Don’t quit until that job is done, I might get off the beaten path every now and then, But my faith and love they always bring me back again, That’s small town livin’.”
These are the lyrics that have spawned a captivated audience much greater than the authors could’ve imagined.
“Small Town Livin’,” the now-popular song recently written and recorded by area natives, has become viral since being posted online earlier this month, garnering support for the musicians from far and wide.
Joey Ringhausen and Dylan Stubblefield met by chance, through a mutual friend. As the two were growing up in different towns, near as they may be, their impending friendship was left in fate’s hands. Music lovers of the greater Pike County area are thankful the pair’s story turned out the way it did.
“We found out that each of us really loved music and decided to get together sometime to play,” Ringhausen explained. “Now, we have become best friends and love playing music together.”
The duo began playing together just two years ago. In that time, they have fine-tuned the dynamics of their musical chemistry, settling on the roles each musician fills. Both play acoustic guitar; Ringhausen takes the lead on vocals, with Stubblefield filling in harmonies.
The musicians explained the song, “Small Town Livin’,” was inspired by the rural towns they grew up in. Dylan grew up in Vandalia; Joey in Bowling Green.
“I wanted to try to portray the small town life, what values we hold important, how we pass our time, and what I have learned from living in a small town,” Ringhausen added. “The song means a lot to me and the person that I am because of what I have learned growing up here. I was hoping that the song would be relatable to others who also grew up in a small town and what values they believe are most important.”
“[The song] just came from the heart. We wanted to write a song about where we come from and how we were raised and I think it describes that perfectly,” agreed Stubblefield. “I’m so fortunate to have grown up where I did and to know the people that I do. Small Town Livin’ is coming from a place where you work hard, you are taught to show respect, and there is nothing like cruisin’ around the backroads with your friends.”
Music has commanded the attention of the young men for many years. They both began playing around middle-school-age, thanks to the influences of their families.
“My grandpa Bill Traynor, of Bowling Green, taught me how to play some guitar chords,” Ringhausen mentioned. “I always enjoyed going over to his house and playing old country songs and bluegrass with him.”
With unwavering dedication to their craft, its no surprise the YouTube video for “Small Town Livin’” has already broken 2,000 views since its Jan. 12 debut.
“I try to play the guitar everyday, sometimes I find myself playing for hours until I lose feeling in my finger tips,” Stubblefield said. “Playing guitar is something that Joey and I love doing, and we will continue doing together for the rest of our lives regardless of whether or not it becomes our career.”
While they both agree a music career would be a dream come true, its their love for playing and singing that truly motivates the pair.
“We would be thrilled if our music continued to gain popularity and it became a career,” Ringhausen noted. “But at the same time, if it doesn’t we will not stop playing and singing because it is what we love to do. I believe God will steer us in the direction that is right for us.”
Dylan Stubblefield is the son of Gary Stubblefield and Sandy Stubblefield, of Vandalia; Joey Ringhausen is the son of Bo Ringhausen and Teri Kite, of Bowling Green. Stubblefield attends University of Central Missouri, majoring in conservation enforcement; Ringhausen is going to Truman State University and majors in education.
The video for “Small Town Livin’” is available on YouTube by searching the title of the song.