Way ahead of her time, Alice Stuart blazed the trail for women in roll and roll as one of the only females in the country tow rite her own music, front a male band, and play lead guitar on national and international circuits. Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Dick Waterman, once remarked, “There would be no Bonnie Raitt without Alice Stuart.”
Alice spent the mid-‘60s and ‘70s, one of the most creative musical periods of the century, making music with some of the greatest artists of that time. She toured the U.S. and Europe with her band, Snake, and as tour support for Van Morrison. The list of artists with which she played in that period of time is an awesome one. They include Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, John Prine, Albert King, Asleep at the Wheel, Richard Greene, Elvin Bishop, Sonny Terry, Tower of Power and Commander Cody. During this period, Alice also appeared on the The Dick Cavett Show, with George Carlin as guest host, and won rave reviews from Billboard, Guitar Player and Rolling Stone magazines for her recordings and performances.
Alice began performing professionally in Seattle during the early ‘60s. Her LPs on Arhoolie (1964) and Fantasy Records (1970 and 1972) are landmark recordings. The film, The Station Agent, (Miramax, 2003)) featured her song, “I Ruined Your Life”, from her Burnside CD, Can’t Find No Heaven. Her professional debut at the Berkeley Folk Festival in 1964 introduced her to many folk and blues luminaries, some of whom she was able to tour and perform with, including Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jesse Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt. Her songs have been recorded by many other artists, some of whom are Jackie DeShannon, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Rabbit and the late Kate Wolf.
In 1966, Alice joined forces with Frank Zappa during the formation of the Mothers of Invention. In 1970 Alice formed her first all-electric band, Snake, which included Bob Jones (We Five, Southern Comfort) and Karl Sevareid (Robert Cray).
When listening to Alice Stuart today, her broad range of experience, both vocally and instrumentally, is obvious. After an extended hiatus in the 1980s to raise her family, she returned to recording and performing in 1996. Her first release after returning to music was Really Good, a joint effort with bass player, singer and songwriter Prune Rooney. Crazy with the Blues (1999) followed and won rave reviews.
Her newest studio CD, Can’t Find No Heaven, was released in 2002 and was nominated for both a Grammy and a Handy Award in 2003. This CD was chosen as Best NW CD by the Washington Blues Society in 2004, and she also won the award for Best Songwriter (2004, 2005, 2006) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2004 and 2006, the Seattle Weekly readers awarded Alice & The Formerlys the title of Best Seattle Blues Band and in 2005, Alice was given the award for Best Seattle Guitarist. She has appeared on many compilation CDs, the latest being two tracks on Blues Guitar Women (Ruf Records), released in October 2005.
In 2005 she ventured to Nashville to cut the first four tracks for a new studio CD. In December 2005, she and her band, The Formerlys, released their live double CD called Live at the Triple Door.