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Stacie Collins and the Al-Mighty Band
Blue Rose/CD Baby/Amazon
This just may be the oddest album that I’ve ever had to review; as I’ve technically already reviewed it before; because I was at the concert!
SHININ’ LIVE is the DVD and the ass-kickin', hip-grinding and smile making soundtrack CD of the concert at Bootleggers Bar in Kendal, England is included as a free Extra.
I can remember the night, as if it was yesterday, when I was standing in front of a packed crowd who had come from all over the UK to see this special gig in a Bar that appeared to have been tele-ported direct from Nashville.
The album opens with Bar Owner Jonty welcoming the audience in a flat, Cumbrian accent and he is immediately followed by the band’s crashing opening chords to Baby Sister and then Stacie belts out the first three verses without appearing to take a breath; even before and after a blistering harmonica solo!
I’m not sure how much Stacie knew about the locality around Kendal; but her introduction to the rip-roaring Ramblin’ made no references to the Gore-Tex encased ‘ramblers’ that normally inhabit the local hills; but the song itself is a scorcher; and the band really come into their own; especially guitar-slinger Jason Graumlich, who must be one of Nashville’s finest exports.
For those who don’t already know, Stacie Collins is a feisty Stetson wearing Country singer who can Rock the Alt out of her songs and when she blows her harmonica – wow, and indeed WOW!
The songs included here come from all three previous albums and would pretty much constitute a Greatest Hits package; if the world had had the good taste to make them Hits.
Hey Mister! From SOMETIMES YA GOTTA opens with one of the coolest harp riffs I’ve ever heard and Stacie, again punctuates the verses of the 100mph song with more blasts on the tiny, but powerful instrument and ends it with a rasping solo that would have made Little Walter beam with pride.
When you are actually at a concert like this the adrenaline pumps through your veins so much it’s truly difficult to remember actual details; and I’m pleased to say that none of the tracks go over the six minute barrier; even with the odd restrained solo from Graumlich.
The backbone of the band; husband Al; who also plays bass for Jason and the Scorchers alongside drummer Brad Cummings are a powerhouse of Swiss timing, leaving Stacie and Jason to trade harp and guitar licks like Olympic sword fencers, when she’s not singing her lungs out.
In the intervening months I’d actually forgot that Al got to sing one of his own songs too; If You Wanna To Get To Heaven. It’s a bit heavier than the rest of the album; but certainly not out of place and has got me wanting to see him fronting a Three Piece Rock Band of his own, sometime.
As you’d expect, not everything here is 100mph; sometimes they drop to about 75! When they do; like On Top Of The Mountain or the sassy roadhouse Blues of Get in Line, Stacie really proves what a helluva singer she actually is and with only a smidgen of good luck could and should go onto greater success and play much, much bigger venues.
There is even a bona-fide Guest Star who makes an appearance on two tracks; Paul Guerin; from the Quireboys, really helps crank up the already sweaty atmosphere on Don’t Doubt Me Now and the encore number, Long Way To The Top and, the second guitar, and the way Guerin duels with Graumlich adds even more gasoline to the roaring fire that is Stacie Collins and the Al-Mighty Band.
That’s the CD taken care of – now I need to relive everything again on the DVD!
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