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Stacy Jagger

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Posted Oct 9, 2006 by Paul
Filed under: Exclusive Interview
Wow! Stacy Jagger is really (and I mean REALLY) good. Her sound is organic. Soulful. She’s right in her bio to credit Mindy Smith as a sound not unlike her own, but I think there’s more depth to Stacy’s songs (no slight to Mindy who I love).

Like most artists in and around Nashville, Stacy contacted us. Unlike most artists who contact us – she really stood out both musically and vocally. Not to mention, her story is, well, interesting!

When so many bio’s have the obligatory “I started singing at 2 years old”, Stacy’s has;

“…living a frontier home life in an 1850’s cabin out in the Tennessee countryside. “I wasn’t poor,” Jagger says, “I was just living in a non-electric cabin taking showers in a converted milk trough, pumping well water for cooking, and stoking fires in the middle of the night to keep warm.”

So when I had a chance to showcase Stacy on site – the hardest part was deciding what to do with her. I decided I wanted to know more and thought that the readers of this site would as well. Enjoy.

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Music History is being made here

PKYou lived in a cabin with your husband and no electricity – no bathroom – no heat… on purpose!

StacyI married a recovering workaholic. The man has a very hard time coming out of his “hole” I call it, which was his recording studio in the basement of our old house, (now in a converted bedroom.) He is constantly torn between the work he loves and the woman he loves. But now that there are two women (me and little Miss Bebe), the women of the house are winning and we are scheduling more predictable family time. Anyways, before the baby came along and we were doing “our own thang”, Ron visited a friend’s cabin for a weekend on a hundred and fifty acres about 45 min. south of town. This man that after a long day in the studio has this blank, computer-like daze on his face came back from four days at this old, awesome 1850’s quaint little non-electric cabin with a look in his eyes that reminded me of his boyhood. Shortly after, we both went for a weekend and visited the cabin and I decided I wanted to live there. He thought I was kidding. I wasn’t kidding. I thought “Hey we don’t have kids, I want some adventure, you need a break from work and your cell phone doesn’t work out here. Let’s pack it all up, put it all in storage and have an experience with the ‘Simple Life’“. Simple but not easy. Let’s just say that when I end up reading the “Little House” series to my daughter, I will know exactly what they were talking about.We initially thought we would stay for a few months, but when we went for a weekend at the Opryland Hotel for our anniversary, “The Pioneer Life” was on PBS and we ended up watching five episodes. The big question was “Who could have made it through the winter?” Before you knew it we were asking each other “Do you think we could make it through the winter?” “I don’t know, do YOU think we could make it through the winter?” Long story short, we made it through the winter. I know I made Grandma proud. I can’t wait to tell her about the chicken that attacked me (and Ron’s shotgun) and the night I went to a ball in Nashville and came home at the strike of midnight just in time to make it to my outhouse.We stayed another spring, summer and part of the fall and then moved into our house October two years ago. My dad kept calling and saying (in his southern drawl), “Are you watchin’ the water run? Are you turnin’ the lights on and off, on and off?” I felt like I had moved to the Ritz Carlton when we got our house. Garden tub, double sinks, two and a half bathrooms. A huge refrigerator. We used an icebox the whole time. I wasn’t planning on the cabin changing my whole view of life, but it kind of did. Every time I take a bath I’m grateful. We were showering in a converted milk trough for almost a year and a half, and that was AFTER we hiked a quarter mile there and back. So I guess I see a lot of things we have now as culturally necessary, but not really necessary for life to work. And when things are simple, you have more time to think and just be.But that was then, this is now, and I’m grateful for the experience. The only thing I really miss is all of my oil lamps. It was kind of a ritual every night lighting the lamps. I’m decorating my daughter’s room like a cabin though, so I’ll just go in there and pretend.

PKYou’re a new mom! (congratulations! and adorable to boot!) And now you’re trying to traverse between your desire to be an artist with your new album, and the fact, you’re a mom! 

StacyYes I am a new mom. I actually had a homebirth four months ago here at my house with a midwife and it was the most intense, amazing experience of my entire life. My mom and husband and midwife and midwife assistant were here and she was born in our bedroom on the afternoon of May 31st. A life changing experience to say the least. We actually got pregnant four months before the record was released, and I was sick as a dog. It wasn’t exactly an easy pregnancy, and now I’m trying to figure out who’s body this is. Lucky for me, I have found a mom’s stroller class and I hope to get myself back in shape eventually!

PKDancing was your apparent calling – and I know your husband is in music as an engineer to several top Christian artists – and I wonder if that isn’t something that had something to do with your ‘conversion’.

StacyI don’t know that dancing was my calling. It was more my therapy. I practically grew up in a dance studio and I know the dance business pretty well. I started teaching classes with my director when I was really young, like 12-13. My father was an alcoholic and so the dance studio became my safe place. I was really burned out after music school in college and so I decided I would teach for a while. I ended up loving it. That was seven-eight years ago. Anyways, I always wanted to do a record, I just wasn’t too keen on the music business. I guess because I saw so many people’s hearts broken over the years being here my whole life. What is so cool now is the way Indies are just doing their own thing, making it work for them, and a lot of them are doing great records. The fact that I can record the music I want to record, tour when I want to tour, start this slow and let it grow organically, and still be true to myself and my family is an absolute miracle.

PKAlso, speaking of conversions – with your husband in Christian music, I’m curious why not go the full Christian route. Seems like a very low barrier to entry for you…

StacyWell yes I see how you would think that. I don’t know, I try to write CCM (contemporary Christian music) stuff and it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I am more in touch with my humanity than “living in victory” I guess. There is an element of suffering in my music, a lamenting of sorts that is quite therapeutic for me. Not to mention that my voice just doesn’t lend itself to really happy music. I really have tried, but it sounds ridiculous. I am working on a more Christian album now though, that we are hoping to release next year. It is a very stripped down acoustic record with old hymns rearranged and new songs of mine that are “God songs” if-you-will. I guess I lean more to the contemplative side of Christianity right now. I used to be more “out there” about my faith, but living in the Bible belt all my life has steered me to just live it rather than talk about it. And living it for me is just being real and honest and being where I am.

PKI really like your sound. You’re correct to say there’s Mindy Smith thing happening – very organic and beautiful – (listening to “Take Me There”) but I can’t help but wonder if it’s a chicken and egg thing – meaning if you didn’t have the ‘sound’ first but she was able to capitalize on it… regardless I LOVE the sound.

StacyOh I don’t know about the chicken and the egg. Mindy is fabulous. I saw her and Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin at the Ryman last year when I was SO pregnant that I almost had to buy two tickets to the thing. I think the difference is that I didn’t move to Nashville to “make it”. I was born here. And my goal in life was to get the heck out of dodge. I ended up marrying into this business and we decided to do a record together. There wasn’t a lot of planning involved for me career wise. I think deep down I’ve always known that being a mother was my priority even before having a child. I love Lori McKenna. She makes me smile. I feel like she has it all. She has a big family, she has her music, her creative outlet and now it is all paying off for her and I am so glad.

PKWhat are some of your goals with this album and will you be touring in support? What exactly is the plan?

Stacy – Well right now I’m trying to figure that out. I would like to tour. We’re not exactly doing this “by the book”. When the time is right, I think it will happen. I’m just enjoying the journey for now, seeing where this takes me.

PKWhen can we see you perform in Nashville?

Stacy – Hopefully soon, we’re trying to get some dates on the books- check my website

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