Val Storey grew up steeped in country music from day one. Both of her parents were singer-songwriters originally from Roanoke who moved close to Nashville to pursue their dreams of country music success. Her dad even opened a recording studio. It took some trauma trigger her instinct to start making her own music. “My mom and I were in a car accident,” Val recalls. “I hardly talked at all…I was a little over three years old and should have been talking. When we were in the hospital, which we were there for about three months, she said I just started singing…I guess I did it mainly to sooth myself.”
At about age 11, Val really caught the singing “bug.” Although a somewhat introverted girl, she asked her father to help her enter a contest. “He said ‘Can you sing?’ and I said, ‘I think so,” she remembers, laughing. “He was so sweet and brought a band into the studio and let me record my first little things to kinda practice, and have a track for the talent show.” She won.
With that kind of introduction to the country music world, it’s no wonder that Val went on to great success as a studio singer in Nashville. When a member of her mom’s quartet (with Jordanaires Dwayne West and Ray Walker—no pressure!) had to miss a session, she asked a 14-year-old Val to sub. “I loved it.”
Her initial success led to stints travelling with a number of groups, singing in a jazz club, and doing a lot of demo work for Nashville songwriters. “I feel very lucky,” Val says. “I’ve had a lot of different experiences with different music.”
Her first full-length solo venture was an album of gospel music, Where Flowers Bloom. (“I did that so my grandmother would be very happy, and she was,” Val adds.) She withdrew from actively “playing out” as she focused on raising a family, but later was drawn back to stage during the last eight or so years.
After surviving and recuperating from a devastating motorcycle accident with her husband in August 2020, she continued to pursue performing and recording. Her sophomore album, produced by the legendary Larry Cordle, is set for release in the spring of 2022. A preview track, “Love at the Five & Dime,” has been released, in tribute to the song’s writer, Nanci Griffith, who passed in August 2021.
By Dan Walsh