When she was a little girl, Stacie Collins lived above the bar where her mother worked as a waitress. While other kids were playing with dolls and trains, her main source of entertainment was the magical, glowing jukebox that reeled and rocked downstairs until way past her bedtime. In one of Collins' earliest memories, she's dancing on the bar's pool table, collecting quarters from bleary-eyed customers and then stuffing them, spellbound, into the neon-encased Rock-ola. It's no surprise then that, years later, Stacie would end up onstage, performing original songs that draw their life-blood from those honky-tonk jukebox classics.
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Born in Muskogee, OK and raised in Bakersfield, CA, her childhood and teenage years reverberated with the honky-tonk sounds of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. A move to nearby Hollywood in her late teens put Stacie in touch with LA's burgeoning rock scene. Obsessed with both the twang of West Coast country and the balls-out energy of Rock-n-Roll, she picked up a blues harp and right away started attracting attention. Being a female harp player still makes her something of a rarity, especially in her adopted hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. "My Dad played harmonica", Stacie recalls, "and even though I didn't know him very well because my parents divorced when I was 5, I felt like that gave me license. I had inherited a gift. After learning to play, I fell in love with the Chicago Blues sound and players like Little Walter and James Cotton. I had found my muse."
Upon arriving in Nashville in 2001, Stacie quickly proved that she wasn't your typical Music Row twangstress the moment she stepped back from the mic and unleashed her high-spirited energy on a mean little blues harp. Full of attitude and flair, blowing harmonica is her calling card but it's Collins' soulful voice and gritty songwriting that creates such a broad ranging appeal.
A sample lyric from "It Ain't Love" warns that, "It ain't the fall that kills you, it's the kiss of the cold, hard ground / it ain't the whiskey that makes you crazy, it's the pain that you're trying to drown." Lines like those combined with her live-wire stage show caught the attention of Dan Baird (of Georgia Satellites and Yayhoos fame) in 2003, and he signed on as producer, guitarist and mentor.
Baird, who also produced Chris Knight and Blue Mountain, put Collins in the studio along with a crack backing band that included blues/rock guitar hero Ken McMahan (The Dusters, Trent Summar) and drummer Paul Griffith (Allison Moorer, John Prine). The association has done her good. Her new CD, The Lucky Spot, is a ten-song Southern Rockin', Twang Bangin' Blues romp. If it had been released twenty or thirty years ago this recording would sound as natural on good-times 70s FM radio, alongside ZZ top and Wet Willie, as it would next to recordings by retro-rockers like The Blasters and Jason & the Scorchers. As it is, Stacie's sophomore record ensures that her voice will add to a growing chorus of contemporary, heartfelt rock and country artists that includes the likes of Lucinda Williams, the Kings of Leon and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.
In October 2001, Collins released her self-titled, self-produced debut recording which became one of the most requested CD's on Americana and College radio stations and quickly climbed to number 46 on The Album Network's Americana Roots Chart. Gigs throughout the United States and Europe soon followed.
With the release of her new CD The Lucky Spot and another European tour on the horizon, 2006 should prove to be an exciting year for Stacie Collins.
If you get the chance, this is one show you won't want to miss. Come witness!
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