Alice Stuart, like a fine wine and a good fish tale, just keeps getting better and better with time. While many folks who have accomplished and recorded far less than Ms. Stuart have either succumbed to assorted vices or just plain burnt out creatively, Alice Stuart continues to roll on like the Energizer Bunny. With a track record that reads like a “Who’s Who” of 60s musicians, Alice Stuart once considered a trail blazer of sorts for the likes of Bonnie Raitt and others has now rightfully achieved the highly coveted Bluesrockers.ws status as an “American Music Treasure”.

Her latest release, “Freedom” is a collaboration of genius combining
the musical talents of Ms. Stuart with the equally monumental production skills of the legendary in this genre Jim Gaines. I have yet to hear anyone who has recorded with Gaines who has come away with anything but a first rate recording, and “Freedom” is certainly no exception. There is magic or mojo if you prefer within the halls of the recording studios of Memphis and this recording contains that mystical touch as well.

Alice Stuart is, like all American Music Treasures, a difficult artist to categorize. I would say she is primarily electric folk music, which in itself is a blend of multiple genres and influences. There is of course the strong folk music presence to her work, but also blues, old country, and what we call back home “front porch” music. You dazzling urbanites may need to check with someone coming out of your local Walmart for help with this definition. Again, this is American Music and you will find a considerable sampling of most all roots influences. The line up of the Formerlys remains the same as their last live CD, which is good news since they were outstanding on the last CD. The band includes of course Alice Stuart on guitar, Charlie Wallace on steel guitar, Steve Flynn on keyboards, and anchored by a great rhythm section of Steve Potts on drums and one of my favorites Marc Willett on bass guitar.

“Freedom” includes 11 more intelligent and original tunes penned by Ms. Stuart and Band plus 2 well chosen covers, Johnny Cash’s “Train of Love” and Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” (you will not hear a better cover of this) which each fit the band perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the Alice Stuart originals, the title track as well as her “I’ve Got Somethin’ for You” (in which she opens with the most inaccurate words “I ain’t pretty”) and a very powerful and painful “I Won’t Bleed”.

“Freedom” is available from the official Alice Stuart web site at www.alicestuart.com. If you are a fan of most any kind of music, there will be something somewhere in Alice Stuart’s catalog that will be pleasing to your ear. I doubt seriously if she will mind if you buy one of everything from her web site.

Tom Branson

The Players:

Alice Stuart-Guitar, Vocals
Marc Willett-Bass Guitar, Vocals
Steve Flynn-Keyboards, Vocals
Steve Potts-Drums
Charlie Wallace-Pedal & Lap Steel

Tracks:

1. Freedom
2. Highway Blues
3. Rhythm Train
4. Train of Love
5. Basket Case
6. I’ve Got Somethin’ For You
7. If You Want It To Last
8. I Won’t Bleed
9. Harmony
10. Down To Earth Man
11. Sophia
12. Everyone Knows
13. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Copyright Country con Fusion Records 2007

© Bluesrockers 2008

Reviewer

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