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Alice Stuart (born 1942 in Chelan, Washington, United States) is an American blues and folk singer-songwriter and guitarist. She toured the UK with Van Morrison and throughout the United States with Mississippi John Hurt.
Her singing, songwriting, and guitar playing secured her invitations to tour nationally and internationally with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Doc Watson, Jerry Ricks, Phil Ochs, and Joan Baez, in addition to television appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and the Old Grey Whistle Test. In addition, Stuart's songs have been recorded by Kate Wolf, Irma Thomas, and Jackie DeShannon.
Stuart started taking piano lessons at the age of five. She picked up the guitar at age 18 and also plays banjo, auto harp, parade snare drum, and bass.
Stuart's early influences as a musician came from classical music, country artists of the 1940s and 1950s such as Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and Ivory Joe Hunter, as well as records from the 1920s and 1930s from Blind Willie McTell, Bessie Smith, Rabbit Brown and artist Bob Dylan.
At the age of twenty two, Stuart played the Berkeley Folk Festival in 1964. She was then invited back by creator/producer Barry Olivier to perform in 1966, and 1970. It was there that she formed a friendship with Mississippi John Hurt, which led to the two touring together.
Billboard magazine reviewed her debut release in 1964 with: "A beautiful new female voice is now on the folk horizon. Its owner's name is Alice Stuart. She sings with a clean freshness that is exciting in its simplicity. A folk find!"
In 1964, she met with musician Frank Zappa at a coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California. By chance as they both were waiting to meet the same person, guitarist Steve Mann. Alice became a member of Zappa's band, The Mothers of Invention, which at the time was mostly a blues band. Zappa wanted to incorporate Stuart's acoustic delta style with his electric leads. However, she lasted only about 6 months with the group and left before they made their debut album Freak Out!. She did not make any recordings with the group. Zappa later said he fired Alice from the band because she could not play "Louie Louie", although this was obviously intended to be a joke.
On November 28, 1971, Stuart appeared on BBC Television's Old Grey Whistle Test, a television program that aired in Europe. In addition to Stuart, a group named Redwing appeared, which among others, featured Timothy B. Schmit (later of The Eagles). Stuart and Redwing were both on the Fantasy label.
In 1972, Stuart sang the title theme song to the X-rated cartoon movie Fritz the Cat, with music done by Ed Bogas.
On January 2, 1973, Stuart appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, hosted at the time by George Carlin. Other guests on the show included Shelley Winters and Jimmy Breslin. During this time, she also performed with Rosalie Sorrells, Jack Elliott, Doc Watson, Jerry Ricks, Phil Ochs, and Joan Baez.
In 1974, Alice sat in with Fantasy Records label-mates, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, several times, including at The Lion's Share in San Anselmo, CA.
Guitar Player magazine featured an article on Stuart in 1974, titled, "Well, so much for 'Mary Hamilton'". Rolling Stone profiled Stuart in 1975 in a feature, "Guitars of the Stars", where she was mentioned alongside Chet Atkins, Mike Bloomfield, David Bromberg, Jose Feliciano, Bonnie Raitt, and Doc Watson.
In the autumn 2006, Stuart contributed her song "Highway" to the album project Artists for Charity - Guitarists 4 the Kids, produced by Slang Productions, to assist World Vision Canada in helping underprivileged kids in need.
Currently, she lives in the Seattle area and tours with her band, The Formerlys, which consists of Marc Willett, who was in The Kingsmen from 1984–1992, and Steven Flynn, formerly of Chuck Berry's band and Jr. Cadillac.