Stacey Earle Simple Gearle

Stacey was a divorced single mother who’d moved to Nashville to help big brother Steve get his shit together. After that, she stayed on as a Music Row staff songwriter until Steve told her one day to “sing like your damn self.” Smart man, that Steve, cause Simple Gearle is one hell of a record. It was originally recorded and mixed over three days with her road band so that they’d have something to sell off the stage, now getting national distribution through E Squared, Steve’s label. It starts with the sound of slightly scratchy, well played vinyl, which is apt, since the disc has a timeless quality to it. It’s a mostly acoustic affair, and is sometimes just Stacey and her guitar. The songs are autobiographical and rich with the reality and confusion of genuine people and places. They blend folk and country, along with just a tad of blues for added grit. The title track embodies the joy of finding someone and the sense of being at peace with yourself is palpable. Steve co-wrote and sings background vocals on “Losers Weep.” The song uses childish game expressions to drive home some hard won and messy truths, but it’s the subtle catch in Stacey’s voice that will set you back in your chair like you’ve been kicked in the chest. Her voice is sweet and clear with just a hint of nasal twang. Just goes to show that breeding does matter. (Gearle)