Alice Stuart and The Formerlys
Alice Stuart continues to blaze a trail and raise the bar for herself and for women in music. She recorded her newly released CD, Freedom, at Memphis’ legendary Ardent Studios with noted producer Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Miller) and engineer John Hampton (Gin Blossoms, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs).The result – Stuart more than ever uniquely delivering the depths of her influences. From the bluesy title track to rocker “Highway Blues”, the anthem-like ode, “I’ve Got Something For You”, an instrumental “Sophia” and a rock-a-billy nod to Johnny Cash (“Train of Love), Stuart brings her fresh soulful vocals and dynamically skillful guitar work on Freedom to fans worldwide. Freedom is distributed nationally and internationally by Burnside Distribution.
Alice Stuart’s music holds within it a flame that burns and burns. In 1964 Alice was introduced at the Berkeley Folk Festival with a warm welcome that led to touring with folk and blues legends such as Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’Hopkins, Albert King and many others. Her LP All The Good Times (Ar hoolie Records, 1964) covered popular and esoteric folk songs. Patty Hall, a writer for the San Diego Troubadour, first saw Stuart at the Berkeley festival and recalled in a 2004 article, “To see a woman only a few years older than ourselves, singing with such confidence and playing with such proficiency, was transforming.”
In 1966, Stuart joined a revolution when she teamed with Frank Zappa during the formation of Mothers of Invention and then moved on to form Alice Stuart and Snake.The young folk singer soon became one of the foremothers of rock and roll. She wrote her own music, fronted a male band and played lead guitar on national and international circuits all though the ’70’s. It was noted in of ROCK:The Illustrated History San Francisco Rock Music, “Alice Stuart came before her time.
Years before the wave of brash young female rockers such as Chrissy Hynde, Pat Benatar, Suzi Quatro, and a dozen others were providing the hottest action in the record business, Alice was playing rock ‘n roll Stratocaster in front of an all male band.”
Stuart toured the US and Europe with Van Morrison, Commander Cody, Michael Bloomfield and John Prine. She ap peared and recorded with Jerry Garcia, John Hammond, Richard Greene, Elvin Bishop, Dave Mason, Sonny Terry and Tower of Power and other artists that marked that rich and creative time. And magazines such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player and Village Voice gave Alice rave reviews for her landmark recordings on Fantasy Records Full Time Woman (1970) and Believing (1972 Alice Stuart & Snake). Singers Irma Thomas, Kate Wolf and Jackie DeShannon sub sequently added Alice’s “Full Time Woman” to their repertoires and recordings.
After a long hiatus devoted to raising her family, Alice resumed her record-
ing career in 1996 and by 2002 was solidly back with Can’t Find No Heaven (Burnside Records, 2002) which was met with a first run nomination for a Grammy and a Handy Award nomination and once again rave media re sponse. In 2003, her song, “I Ruined Your Life”, was chosen for the soundtrack of The Station Agent, a Sundance favorite released by Miramax. She was recognized by Seattle Weekly for Seattle’s Best Guitarist (2005), Best Band (2004- 2006) and by the Washington Blues Society as Best Songwriter (2003- 2006). In 2006, she released the first live recording of her now four decade career, Alice Stuart & The Formerlys LIVE at the TRIPLE DOOR (Country con Fusion Records).
And just as before, Alice continues to both explore her roots and expand the reach of her music. She previewed her new works on Freedom to packed audiences at the 2007 InternationalFolk Alliance Conference and launched the CO’s debut to a sold out crowd at Seattle’s Triple Door. She has been chosen two years in a row as one of the top players to compete at the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The event in 2009 marks the 25th year of the annual competition which is held worldwide by The Blues Foundation and is the world’s largest gathering of blues artists. No blues competition comes close to the stature and intensity of the International Blues Challenge.
As Freedom garners reviews, radio play and new audiences, its fitting that Alice Stuart will greet 2008 continuing to fan the flame of her unique musical odyssey.