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Alice expected to draw the crowds once more

Folk musician Alice Stuart is back on the Island and will perform at the Bermuda Folk Club on Saturday.

The crowd pleasing artist last appeared in Bermuda two years ago, when she drew the Bermuda Folk Club’s biggest ever crowd.

“On Saturday night we will perform a lot of originals,” said Ms Stuart, whose previous band was Snake. “I write a lot. I will be doing some [Bob] Dylan songs, and some of the songs from my compact discs.

“This will be the third time I have performed in Bermuda. It started when I met Michael and Deb Caisey in Portland, Oregon. Michael heard me play, and asked me to come to perform for the Bermuda Folk Club.”

Ms Stuart now has a band called The Formerlys, because they are all well known for having previously played with other bands. Their most recent album is called ‘Freedom’, and includes varied music with soul, rock and roll, and some ballads.

An internationally acclaimed artists, she is credited with having helped to pave the way for future female artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett, and Melissa Ethridge. She has been nominated for both a Grammy, and a Handy Award, the Blues industry equivalent of the Grammy. Her guitar work has been referred to as “tasty”.

“I started playing piano at an early age,” she said. “I got a Burl Ives song book, and learned a bunch of songs from that. Then when I left high school, I had a ukulele. I got my first guitar when I was 19-years-old, and started playing in a coffee house.”

At first she felt bound to play the songs exactly as artists such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis had played them. Everything changed for her when Bob Dylan appeared on the music scene.

“I was like, ‘wait a minute here, I can play these songs any way I want’,” she said. “Bob Dylan, as far as I am concerned, should be America’s poet laureate until he dies. He is just marvellous. He is probably my biggest mentor.”

In the early 1960s, she had a weekly gig on the west coast produced television series ‘Hootenanny’. In 1964, Ms Stuart took the stage at the Berkeley Folk Festival, and again in 1966 and 1970 which led to touring with folk and blues legends, such as Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert King and others.

She made a move to Los Angeles, and was hired for her finger-style guitar playing, and vocals, to join Frank Zappa’s band ‘Mothers of Invention’ ... the only woman to ever play with the band.

Now 70-years-old, she still performs constantly across the United States and the world.

Ms Stuart said over the years she has seen folk music get broken down into lots of different sub categories such as Appalachian Folk, and country folk. She has tried to avoid being niched.

“I also play the electric guitar, and I have a pretty wide range of music,” she said. “I think interest in folk music is coming back. I think the young people are tired of the bashing and clanging of the really loud bands, and they are paying more attention to the lyrics.

“I had a 22-year-old guy come up to me the other day. He has learned every song on my 1964 release, which is purely folk. It is just astonishing.”

She will be performing on Saturday at 8pm at the Spanish Point Boat Club in Pembroke. Tickets are $15 at the door on the evening of the show. For more information about the Bermuda Folk Club info@folkclub.bm or see www.folkclub.bm.

Folk musician Alice Stuart will perform at the Bermuda Folk Club on Saturday night.

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Published June 05, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 04, 2013 at 3:00 pm)

Alice expected to draw the crowds once more

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