She’s Done It Again; Harmonica and Twang Infested Country Rock Deluxe.
Where do I start with my love and adoration of Stacie Collins?
Probably the year of our Lord 2000, when I bought my first ever copy of No Depression; from the late lamented Goldrush Records shop in Perth Scotland. As I sat poring over this amazing publication I spotted an advert for her debut album ……. I can picture it now, one leg bent and her foot planted firmly against a tree she was standing against; and the fresh faced lovely smiling from beneath a big ole Cowboy Hat; and a strap-line that read something like ‘the best Country Harp player in Tennessee.’
These were the days before the internet; so I had to send a letter enquiring about purchasing this CD; weeks later I got a handwritten reply with the price inc. postage.
As I couldn’t get the actual price in dollars (and Paypal was 10 years away from being invented) I then had to buy 3 x $10 bills from work and duly posted them off.
Again; some weeks later a parcel arrived from the Colonies, baring a CD and a T-Shirt to make up for the difference in price!
There are more stories to tell; but I’ll leave them for my Autobiography 😉
Which now brings me to Stacie’s fifth album; DAMN GIRL!
Originally a self-financed and subsequently crowd funded release that was held back because of this pesky Coronavirus malarkey; but is now finally being released out into the wild.
You can only imagine the excitement in the air when I pressed ‘play’ for the first time and the noise that crackled out of the office speakers sounded like a Perfect Storm as the Al-Mighty 3 build up the tension until Stacie blasts out; all guns blazing ……. no prisoners taken; on the feisty as Hell, You Don’t Know Me.
Certainly erring on the Rockier end of Country; this is one belter of a song; and when Jonathan Sudbury delivers the first of his guitar solos my heart skipped a beat and the butterflies in my stomach flew around like starlings at roost.
That one song throws down the marker for what is to follow; as Stacie and Band are totally synched as one; which is what happens after years on the road.
While DAMN GIRL! certainly fits into Stacie’s cannon of work perfectly well; it’s as different as chalk and cheese from anything (apart from possibly the Live album) that has come before it.
For a studio album; songs like Down For The Count, Got Me Going and the 90 mph Darlin’ Why all have that glorious ‘one take’ feel about them; perhaps they took months to overdub (I doubt it, knowing how Al Collins works) but when a band is as tight as this they genuinely spark off each other like a forest fire.
While I’ve always loved Stacie Collins’ rockier numbers; and the powerful Hey Now, which opens with a steam train of a harp solo; is right up there with her best and is a certain to be a Live Favourite; but I’ve always been drawn to her slower, sultry ballads which invariably are Heartbreakers Deluxe.
If Things I Meant To Say doesn’t squeeze the life out of your heartstrings you are reading the wrong website …….. this is written by and for sloppy Old Romantics like me; and works perfectly in every word, syllable and note.
It’s an odd thing to think and even say; but I think Stacie has finally ‘grown into’ her voice; which has always been a power-tool; but on the heads down, no nonsense You’ve Been Gone and Down For The Count; her vocals are actually quite subtle; whereas the younger Stacie would have tried to blow every word off the Richter Scale …… here, she actually leaves that for the delightful harmonica/guitar interplay.
This is far too early for me to make a considered judgement as to selecting a Favourite Song; Hell’s Bell’s ……. I haven’t even played this in the car yet!
But; so far the intense and intricate Straight To Hell doesn’t sound anything like anything I’ve heard on Stacie’s previous releases; which has to be a good thing.
The cheeky giggle that starts Stuck In a Ditch gives an already doozy of a Twang infested Country Rocker one extra point; but I keep being dragged back to the Harmonica laden I Can’t Take It, as it is as good a song as Stacie and Al have ever recorded …….. man; there’s plenty of young Lady Rockers out there who could learn a lot about a singer and songwriter’s craft from this one song alone; and the band behind her ain’t too shabby either.
We all have acts like Stacie Collins in our collections; personal Favourites who we firmly believe should be Superstars; yet are still trawling the Clubs around the world barely scratching a living.
It’s not too late, that’s for sure ……. as Stacie Collins may have just released her most balanced album to date; and with the Western World all in ‘Lockdown’ of one sort or another; this might actually be the best time to release DAMN GIRL! as fans can actually kick back and let Stacie Collins take you to a secret place where only you and her songs matter.
Released September 20th 2020
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