Let’s get the obvious questions and comparisons out of the way right up front. She is the sister of Steve Earle. Stacey, like Steve, spent some time as a staff writer, bashing out stuff for other folks. Steve neither wrote nor co-wrote any of the songs. (Their father, Jack, did co-write one song). While Steve does contribute a vocal part on one of these 13 songs, in “Losers Weep,” and he is credited with helping her find her voice by walking by her one day and commenting “why don’t you sing like your own damn self?”, this is Stacey’s record, plain and simple. There are some very small moments within this recording where similarities in delivery, phrasing, and styles can be found, but this is more attributable to genetics, osmosis, or observation, not just brother’s guiding hand.
Unlike most professional musicians, Stacey spent her youth and young adulthood raising a family. During those years she had no CD’s, no records, and a car radio that didn’t work. She did have a guitar, a love of music, and a captive audience of children. Raising her children was her job, and she took it very seriously. She honed her playing, writing, and singing during the days, and worked as a waitress at night. After sixteen years of marriage and child-raising, she divorced. In 1990, she moved to Nashville to house-sit for her brother and provide moral support. At her brother’s invitation, she contributed vocals to his The Hard Way album and ensuing tour. After the tour, she began regularly hosting a weekly songwriter’s night at Nashville’s now-defunct Jack’s Bar. This gig ultimately led to her signing on as a staff writer at Top Ten Publishing. It’s also where she met her current husband and bandmate, Mark Stuart. During her tenure as a songwriter’s night host and staff writer, her confidence slowly grew, as did her desire to write more personal material. This is it.
Simple Gearle is an intimate and personal view from the heart of a very special woman who has more than held her own through years of toil and sacrifice. Stacey has most certainly grown from it all and has used her experience to build a recording that simply sparkles. Sometimes sad, but never bitter, her songs mostly celebrate the simple joys and pleasures of a simple girl. Her voice rings sweeter, clearer, and truer than any twenty-something-barefoot-folkie I’ve ever heard. This record definitely deserves a space in any good folk-acoustic collection. http://www.staceyearle.com