“Proof a lady excelling in a mans world”
— Classic Rock magazine
Sporting a slam-bang rock ‘n’ roll band and a hard-core honky- tonk wail, Stacie Collins pushes the boundaries of rock, blues and country. A singer-songwriter and a bad-ass harmonica player in the style of Chicago Blues greats Little Walter and James Cotton, Collins has garnered a reputation for her high energy shows, diverse songwriting and unlike most chick-singers, they are not all about love and heartbreak.
Based in Nashville, TN, Stacie is a road warrior having performed countless shows in the USA and Europe over the past few years and has even spawned a Japanese “Stacie Collins” tribute band. In addition to touring, Collins, along with her writing partner, husband, band mate Al Collins (Jason & The Scorchers) have written, recorded and released five records on her own label.
Had her records been released twenty or thirty years ago, they would have sounded as natural on ’70s FM radio alongside ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones as they do next to contemporary rockers like the Drive-By Truckers or Blackberry Smoke.
Stacie Collins hears it every night. Same thing. “Over and over I get, “I’ve never seen a girl do that,’” says Collins, who tends to smile sweetly and just say, “Thank you,” after finishing shows where she and her harmonica howl, moan, rock and roll through hours of high-intensity, table-jumping, rejuvenating, exhilarating, rock & roll music. “Imagine a late-night lock-in jam with Aerosmith, the Stones, and ZZ Top, fronted by the equivalent of Ronnie Van Zant, or maybe even Shania Twain with balls,” is how Classic Rock magazine described this thing that Collins does.
She’s a favorite of Dan Baird, a Chuck ’n’ duck rocker who took the Georgia Satellites to chart-topping heights. She’s a favorite of Warner E. Hodges and Jason Ringenberg of Jason & the Scorchers, who invented country-punk music. Her husband, co-writer, and producer, Al Collins, plays bass these days for the Scorchers, but Scorcher-dom isn’t cause for fandom. Warner and Jason don’t like her ‘cause she’s related. They like her ‘cause she’s badass.
The latest iteration of Collins’ badassery is Roll the Dice, her fifth album and the best-yet showcase for her exuberant, harmonica-drenched, cocktail of rock, blues, and Americana. For this one, Collins brought in her bass-playing husband, guitar slingers Baird and Audley Freed (The Black Crowes, Dixie Chicks, Jakob Dylan), drummer, Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, Willie Nelson), and other master musicians. “With players like that, the energy comes from the music, and it becomes all about heart,” she says. “You leave your brain somewhere else. I don’t know how to classify this stuff, but people say it’s unique and familiar at the same time.”
Collins was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the setting for her hero Merle Haggard’s best-known song. Like Haggard, she was raised in Bakersfield, California, moving there when she was five, in time to soak up that town’s considerable music history. Bakersfield is where Haggard cut his teeth, where Buck Owens developed his signature blend of hyper-twang aggression and down-home harmonies. “When I lived there, Buck was still in town,” Collins says. “My mom worked at a golf course, and he’d come out and play. She said he was really nice. Then Dwight Yoakam came along, singing with Buck about Bakersfield and helping that whole scene out. It was a great place to grow up. I feel like, man, I come by this shit honestly.”
She also comes by it unexpectedly. At age 30, she picked up a harmonica, started listening to Sonny Boy Williamson, and began blending Bakersfield-bred bluster with distorted Chicago blues. What emerged was transformative for Collins, and highly entertaining for audiences. Beat-up cowboy hat, blues harp, rock attitude… unique and familiar, at the same time.
Al and Stacie Collins moved to Nashville on Jan. 1, 2001, and she soon came to the attention of Music City’s patron carnie saint of indie music promoters, Billy Block. “I owe Billy Block, because he took my demo to Europe, gave it to promoters, and that allowed me a career overseas,” she says. “For the past six years, I’ve gone there three or four times a year, playing for everyone from little kids to 80-year-olds.”
Block is gone now. Cancer. Collins remains, and thrives. On Roll the Dice, she rocks with fury, then spreads out over an expansive roots music terrain. “I don’t know how people are going to perceive it,” she says. But, really, she knows. Every night, same thing, over and over. “I’ve never seen a girl do that.”
And once they do, they want to see it again.
Click images to download high-res copies
Please note -
Images for official Stacie Collins press and promotion only
Please credit the photographer on publication.
All images © the individual photographer.
“Just as there are people who come into your life like a hurricane destroying everything in their path, there are artists who will produce such a feeling when you see them live that nothing is ever the same. That is precisely what happened to me the first time I saw Stacie Collins” - RedHardnHeavy
“She is the Queen of Roadhouse Rock”
- Three Cords and the Truth