Blues, Family, and the Rhythm of Stacy Jones: A Musical Journey
September 14, 2023 - by Mackenzie Ault
Blues, Family, and the Rhythm of Stacy Jones: A Musical Journey
Stacy Jones is a talented musician with a deep-rooted passion for blues and a lifelong dedication to her craft. With a musical journey that began at the age of fourwhen her father enrolled her in piano lessons, Stacy has since evolved into a remarkable artist, performer, and songwriter.
Named after her, the Stacy Jones Band has gained a lot of recognition over the years and continues to makewaves in the Pacific Northwest's vibrant music scene. Join us as we explore Stacy's musical influences, her unique experiences playing alongside her father, and her recent projects -- including the addition of a new guitarist to the band. Discover the stories, inspirations, and passion behind the music that has shaped her remarkable career.
It all started with my dad, the bass player in my band. He signed me up for piano lessons when I was just a kid, and honestly, I didn't even think about it at the time. Music was just something I did naturally, something I was pretty good at, and something I loved. When I was 16, this opportunity popped up to join this blues crew called Seattle Blues, made up of a bunch of teenagers like us. We even had a couple of 10-piece bands in the mix. So, I started jamming at the New Orleans venue in Pioneer Square at 16, and that was pretty much the beginning of my musical journey right there. I’ve been hooked ever since.
How did the Stacy Jones Band come to be?
The Stacy Jones Band came into existence in a rather organic and evolving way. It all started when I was about 20 years old, and I had Ray Hartman, a bass player with a rich history of playing alongside various musicians in the local scene. Ray actually initiated the first Stacy Jones Band, and that project lasted for a couple of years. Later on, Jim and Beth Wulff had some gigs lined up and asked my dad and me to join them for those shows. That collaboration led to Stacy Jones and the Wolf Tones. Eventually, we went our separate ways from Jim and Beth, and that's when the Stacy Jones Band emerged. Along the journey, other people started seeking me out, and it all kind of fell into place. It's been a gradual process of working through different opportunities and figuring out what direction I want to take, but it's been a very organic journey. Each opportunity that has come my way has contributed to the slow progression that has brought me to where I am today with everything.
What is it like getting to play with your dad on stage?
Playing with my dad on stage is a unique experience. It's quite different from the usual family gatherings where you would usually engage in typical conversations. When we're on stage, we're working together, setting up equipment, and creating music. It's a collaborative art form that we've been a part of since he enrolled me in piano lessons at the tender age of 4. Those early years involved both of us learning piano side by side, which was quite special. Over the years, our musical journey has continued to be a shared learning process. This collaboration feels like building something together, a creative endeavor that is rooted in our shared passion for music. While it might not be the norm in Seattle, there are places -- , particularly in the South -- where musical families are common.It just feels pretty normal to be making music as a family for us.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from a variety of sources, and it's a continuous process for us. Rick, our drummer of over 15 years, plays a significant role in this. When he's not performing, he's involved in music journalism, working with Blind Raccoon and Innocent Words Magazine, among others. He's always receiving new music for CD reviews and articles, which keeps us exposed to a diverse catalog of music. Additionally, my dad and I enjoy revisiting artists we've loved in the past, often discovering albums or songs we missed before. This collaborative process of songwriting with input from all of us is something we're passionate about. An idea for a song can start quite abstract but gradually takes shape as one of us delves into it. When I find myself repeatedly listening to a tune in my head, it often becomes the source of inspiration when I sit down to write.
What was your favorite nomination/award that you received and why?
My favorite award experience has to be when we won the award for the Washington Blues Society "Best of the Blues Awards: Best Band." After about nine consecutive years of only walking away with a nomination, we finally clinched the win. Winning it was an incredible feeling, especially after years of being nominated and not securing the title. What made it even more special was that we went on to win it five years in a row. In 2022, I had the privilege of winning the Best of Blues Awards for piano/keys for the first time ever. Winning the keys category was particularly significant, as it marked the culmination of a 40-year pursuit. As a woman, receiving not just nominations but actually winning awards for instrumental talents is a significant accomplishment. I've also been honored with the “Best of Blues: Songwriter” award, which holds its own weight because it involves putting deeply personal material out there. I remember watching older blues musicians as a kid and wondering if I'd ever have the chance to be one of those individuals up on stage receiving an award, so these achievements mean a lot to me.
Do you guys have any projects that you are currently working on that you would like to share?
We recently welcomed a new guitarist, Eric Rice, who joined us in May. It was a bit of a whirlwind because we threw him into the mix just a week before our busy season, with only one practice under our belts. Now that the hectic season is winding down, we're taking this opportunity to bring him up to speed and revisit some of our older songs. Eric is no stranger to us; we've known him for quite some time, and he has even filled in for us on occasion in the past. In the close-knit blues community of the Pacific Northwest, we all tend to cross paths, so it felt like the perfect timing to bring him into the fold.
Is there anything that you are looking forward to while playing back in Bellevue?
Playing in Bellevue is something we're eagerly anticipating, especially being a part of the lineup and headlining the music series on Friday. We're genuinely thrilled to have this opportunity, and we're excited to contribute to the fantastic lineup you've put together this year. It's worth mentioning that this marks our debut appearance at the Bellevue Jazz and Blues Music Series, so it holds a special place in our hearts as a new experience we're looking forward to.
Craving more? From October 4-8, the Bellevue Jazz & Blues Music Serieswill showcase 20+ live performances at 11 different venues across Downtown Bellevue, with over 17 free shows. See our 2023 all-star lineup of musicians and discover your next favorite artist!
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