Alice Stuart & the Formerlys

Alice Stuart & the Formerlys

 Olympia, Washington, USA
BandBluesAmericana

This is a band that other musicians come to hear. Their original music is a pure American mix. According to one reviewer, Alice has a voice that "could melt the Polar Ice Cap". She has won many awards for her songwriting and guitar playing.

Biography

The Formerlys consist of natives and veterans of the Northwest music scene. Marc Willett, bass player for the group, and Rick Boice, drummer, have been a rhythm section since Jr. High. They have played with Paul Allen's 'The Grown Men', 'Stolen Ogre', and Freddy Fender and have had the honor of backing up many touring artists like Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) Dan Ackroyd, Tom Scott, Lou Reed, and Little Feat, among others. Marc played and toured with the Kingsmen for 10 years and is also a songwriter and guitarist as well as a bass player. Quoting Marc, "When I heard the Beatles in 1966, my grade point average went from 4.0 to 2.0....and I never looked back." Steven Flynn, keyboardist, has played with Chuck Berry & Jr. Cadillac and has backed up innumerable touring acts; he is a much sought after session player. He has been nominated by the Washington Blues Society as Best Keyboard Player twice, in 2006 & 2007.

And - of course - Alice Stuart.

Alice was way ahead of her time. She blazed the trail for women in rock and roll as one of the only females in the country to write her own music, front a male band, and play lead guitar on national and international circuits during the 1970s. According to Taj Mahal, "Alice cut the road that Bonnie traveled."

Music has always been a huge part of Alice's life. She played piano from an early age and then played drums in Jr High and High School. She started writing songs at the piano when she was 14. She started playing guitar and singing folk music in Seattle in 1962, after graduating from Chelan High School. When opportunity knocked, she moved to California in1964 where she was discovered by the director of the Berkeley Folk Festival, Barry Olivier. There, she performed alongside Joan Baez, Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt, with whom she formed a close friendship, performing with him at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles and the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Shortly after the festival, Alice was signed to Arhoolie Records and made her first album, "All the Good Times". She then toured the east coast to promote the new album. Upon her return, in January 1965, she met Frank Zappa in Los Angeles and became a part of Frank's blues band for a few months. She took a 2 year hiatus from the music business in 1966 when she married and had a son. In 1969, Alice started writing her own songs again and made her first recording for Fantasy Records titled "Fulltime Woman". Shortly thereafter, she formed her own band "Snake", which included Bob Jones (We Five & Southern Comfort) and Karl Sevareid (Southern Comfort & Robert Cray). They made a 2nd album for Fantasy, "Believing". After many years of recording and touring, Alice again 'retired' from the music business to raise her children. In 1994, she began to write and perform again and returned to Seattle in 1999.

Alice spent the mid-70s, one of the most creative musical periods of the century, making music with some of the greatest artists of that time. She appeared and recorded with such artists as Jerry Garcia, Commander Cody, Michael Bloomfield, John Prine, Albert King, Asleep at the Wheel, John Hammond, Richard Greene, Elvin Bishop, Dave Mason, Sonny Terry, Tower of Power (who appears on "Believing"), and Mark Naftalin as well as blues greats Lightnin' Hopkins, Jesse Fuller, and Albert King. She and 'Snake' provided tour support in the US, Canada and Europe for Van Morrison.

In 1972, Alice and 'Snake' appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, with George Carlin as guest host. Her LPs on Arhoolie (1964) and Fantasy Records (1970 and 1972) are landmark recordings. She won rave reviews from Billboard, Guitar Player, and Rolling Stone magazines.

Her original songs have appeared on many albums recorded by other artists and in 2003, her song I Ruined Your Life, was on the soundtrack for the movie "The Station Agent", released by Miramax. Her CD, "Can't Find No Heaven," was nominated for both a Grammy and a Handy Award. The Washington Blues Society gave her an award for Best NW CD in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, they awarded her Best Songwriter and inducted her into the Hall of Fame. The Seattle Weekly Music Awards awarded her and her band, The Formerlys, Best Seattle Blues Band for 2004 and in 2005 Alice was given the award for Seattles Best Guitarist. In 2006, they again won the award for Best Blues Band and Alice was again nominated for Best Guitarist.

Bob Dylan was her biggest influence after Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly. Roy Buchanan, Mark Knopfler & Jimmy Thackery have become her 'guitar gods'.

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Lyrics

I've Got Somethin' For You

Written By: Alice Stuart

I ain't pretty, but I got some style
I ain't young no more, but I can still be wild
Been so many places, I've done so many things
Now it's time I'm gonna' grab that golden ring
I've got somethin' that I know is true, I've got somethin' for you

Wild and crazy, I made a fool out of myself
Dancin' with the devil, wishin' I was someone else
Waitin for a man to rescue me
Now I'm standin' here on my own 2 feet
I've got somethin' that I know is true, I've got somethin' for you

LIfe's so much better since I learned to love myself
Now that it's happened I can learn to love somebody else, it's true, I've got somethin' for you

Wisdom is a thing that can't be bought or sold
Some people get it young, some have to wait until they're old
I didn't know I had it but it was right inside of me
The strength to be the person that I knew I could be
I've got somethin' that I know is true, I've got somethin' for you

Make it on my Own

Written By: Alice Stuart

Trouble, trouble up around every bend
I just pick myself up, fall back again
Two kids cryin, mama come home, I'll be back later babies, mama's out on her own

People needin’ people I don’t know what to do
No one to help me this time, got to pull myself thru
Son said, “mama, I can’t keep from cryin’”
Hang on a little longer got to know that I’m tryin’

Your mama’s tryin’ so hard just to make it on my own
Make it on my own

Trouble, trouble up around every bend
I just pick myself up, fall back again
Soul brother watchin’ while I’m tryin’ to get up
He said, “help yourself woman, I’ve had enough”

Everybody’s shoutin’ now, and Freedom’s the Sound
Get free within yourself, don’t put your brother down, down, down
Get yourself together so the people can see
What it’s like to love your brother, what it’s like to be free

People needin’ people we’ve all got to be friends
It‘s the only way to bring it back together again.
Try real hard, to be friends
Let’s bring it back together again