Stacie Collins – Home is where the Harp is

StacieCollins2015-212-Edit_No frills, no long introductions, no long meandering guitar solos.  Just a shot of adrenalin driven Rock n Roll Nashville style.  Stacie Collins blew into Bonn on Sunday and blew the Harmonie audience away.

It’s true the lyrics aren’t too taxing.  Going down south, snakes, Saturday honky tonks  and the road.  Most of all the road.  It’s where musicians like Stacy spend most of their time, travelling to bring the music to me and you.   Stacie’s Country tilted vocal would even make them Country style too if it wasn’t for that Honky tonking harp she blows, and on the rare number played without a harp, ‘Heart on my Sleeve’ you could almost be listening to a Country band.

Except that Stacie Collins without a harp is like, well, Hendrix without a Strat, theoretically possible but in practice unthinkable.

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Kicking off, as does the brand new CD (released this very week) with a couple of beats and in to ‘Lost and Found’ and it’s driving boogie all the way.  ‘Hit hard from the start and don’t let up’ could be the motto of this band and if so they certainly follow it to the letter.  The only brief respites are the mariachi swing of ‘Heart on my Sleeve’  and the Rock Ballad pomp of ‘It’s Over’ and, much as I enjoyed the changes of style,  I missed the bigger change in pace that  ‘Get in Line’ created on previous tours.

Husband Al gives Stacie a powerful backbeat

Husband Al gives Stacie a powerful backbeat

Or maybe that used to be a chance for the band to catch their collective breaths and they decided they didn’t need it?  The pace may be relentless, but so are the smiles on the faces.   There’s nothing that kills a concert more than bored looking musicians clearly going through the motions but there’s no chance of that with the ‘AL mighty three’  as Stacie affectionately calls her husband Al on bass, Welshman guitarist John Sudbury and drummer Ryan McCormick.  These guys clearly love what they do and hey, it’s infectious!

Welshman John Sudbury takes a solo

Welshman John Sudbury takes a solo

New numbers like ‘King of Rock’ and ‘It’s Over’ are good live numbers but it’s still the older classics that the band, in their sweaty balls to the wall style, hammer home that make Stacie Collins and Co a marvellous band to see live.  Al takes vocals on ‘If you wanna get to Heaven’with great effect and there are some excellent classic covers like that of the criminally under-rated Georgia Satellites and their signature tune ‘Keep your hands to yourself’ and Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’.

It’s almost a relief given the 110% effort of every band member that they are actually all still standing after blistering finales of ‘Baby Sister’ and AC/DC’s ‘It’s a long way to the top’.  Ten minutes after shows end every one of them is back and signing autographs with a smile.

Stacie herself has time for everyone.  She gives me a hug for my review and photos from last year’s show, and talks harps with Bonn Folk Club’s John Harrison for ten minutes.  John established that she blows 1847 ‘Silver’ Seydel harps so called because they feature a German silver (Nickel silver) reed plate, covering the stainless steel reeds.    John also managed to talk amps with Al Collins for ten minutes discussing the blessings of the aptly named Orange 1000 Watt Terror Bass Amp that Al plays through Fender bass speakers.  John always makes me think twice before writing instrumental banalities like “The guitarist was playing a red guitar”…

Are these people happy making music?

Are these people happy making music?

A Stacie Collins show is that all too rare animal these days – a concert that leaves you on an adrenalin and a musical high feeling that, as long as there is Rock n Roll all is right with this crazy world.  A big thank you to Mr Music Bernie Gelhausen for bringing the band to Bonn too.  Bernie also brings the bands Bonafide and Julian Sas to Bonn of course and all three have two things in common – they rock, and they are populated by musicians who are in love with the music rather than with themselves – and I love them all the more for that.

My advice people is to check out the new CD ‘Roll the Dice’ from Stacie – a few plays have already convinced me that  it’s undoubtedly her best yet.  But better still, get to a show if you can.  This lady has a warm smile, a friendly way of talking, and a MEAN way with a blues harp.  She quite literally blows into town!

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MORE PHOTOS HERE

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