The debut album from off-kilter, soulful songstress Stac is a unique blend of intoxicating harmonies, stunning live instrumentation and intricate songwriting that belies young Stacey Dowdeswell’s years.
“Turn That Light Out” takes its influences from classic soul, folk, reggae, acoustic and South American sounds, utilizing as it does a line-up that includes much lauded Mancunian jazz trumpeter Matthew Halsall, Hackney Colliery Band trombonist Magnus Dearness, strings courtesy of The Heritage Orchestra string section, former member of Brighton outfit The Hat, Dan Clark (on harp and double-bass), Part-Time Heroes pianist Stephen McCleery, a twelve strong choir, and as if that wasn’t enough Stac is joined by label mate and producer of the album Adam Scrimshire on guitar, and the whole album is engineered and executive produced by none other than Nostalgia 77! Blimey, not a bad line-up we’re sure you’ll agree.
The main focus of attention, though, should be on the glorious vocal tones of the lady herself. Opening tracks “Same Old Thing” and “Strainger” tell frustrated tales of inebriation and lust, and “Balls Bounce” continues that theme confronting the subject of Stac’s affection to rise to the challenge! The rather more sweet natured “Head On Me” features the Heritage Orchestra strings and is a tear jerker of the highest order, whereas the somewhat epic “All Or Nothing” again throws down the gauntlet to a loved one, before it crescendos with choir, grand piano and Stac’s band turning out what looks like being a future classic.
The more feet friendly “Whoops” sees Stac on sassy form, before the latin flavoured “More”, slow burner “Glory” and the quirky “Tip” pull heartstrings galore as the focus of the love interest continues to disappoint. The final track on the album, “Cry To Me”, is the only cover version on the album, taken as it is from classic chick flick “Dirty Dancing”, and despite the title (and the lyrics!) brings Stac’s emotional journey to something like a happy ending.
“Turn That Light Out” is an honest and evocative collection of songs from a young lady who has a unique vocal and song-writing talent, and with the help of some of her coolest friends, has created something very special indeed.
Music Week, Key Release 21/06/10!
“That lady is tasty!” Alice Russell
“Sounds like a young Minnie Ripperton” Mark Ronson
“Stac is DOPE!” Gilles Peterson (Radio 1)
“Stunning and beautiful. End of story.” Ashley Beedle (Xpress2)
“A gorgeous voice.” Mary-Anne Hobbs (Radio 1)
“Stac is amazing!” Brad Baloo (The Nextmen)
“Stac’s definitely gonna turn out the lights in the industry and shine like a star amongst her counterparts.” Blue Daisy
“On her accomplished debut album London based singer Stac pulls in some very talented friends, and in doing so illustrates just how convergent the Capital’s musical community can be: members of The Heritage Orchestra, producer Nostalgia 77, Mancunian Jazz figurehead Matthew Halsall and a dozen-strong choir all bring their talents to the table, although it’s Stac’s intricate songwriting that make ‘Turn That Light Out’ such an intriguing listen.” Barclaycard Mercury Prize Recommends
“Turn That Light Out is simply exquisite; an album so accomplished and beautifully performed it’s hard to believe it’s her debut. Call it soul, call it folk, call it jazz, whatever. It’s delicious. Imagine an English take on Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins, with the soul of Badu, the wit of (early) Winehouse and the charm and emotional directness of Feist and you won’t be too far off capturing the effect of the enchantment that Stac weaves.” Will Georgi, Okayplayer
The song ‘Give Me All Or Nothing’ deserves all those gushy, non-specific adjectives reserved for reviews pages like these; and as a whole this album of blue-eyed soul from nymphette Stacey Dowdeswell, backed by a 12-strong choir, conjures up over-saturated VHS footage of daisy chains and summer frolicking. It goes to show that the UK can do ‘feeling’ without resorting to American karaoke and, produced by Adam Scrimshire, it represents a landmark album for Wah Wah. Jez Smadja, Shook Magazine
“On first listen Stacey Dowdeswell could be mistaken for one of the many generic post-Adele, post-Corinne, post-Amy retro soul singers that increasingly clog up the industry. But as this album progresses, a deeply idiosyncratic way with song-structure, a backing band who aren’t short of funk, and an unselfconscious charm become clear. By the time it hits track eight, the aptly-titled “Glory”, you’ll be hooked.” Joe Muggs, theartsdesk.com
“Stac is very much the current sound of Wah Wah 45s as a delicate and vulnerable soulful flower but with song writting “balls” that’ll surprise you.” Gerry Hectic, Fly
“Turn that Light Out is a brave, unpretentious album with a stronger sense of identity than any British soul album of the past five years. It deserves to be heard far and wide.” Soulcuts.wordpress.com
“There’s a gentle simplicity that makes this album very alluring. A beautiful collection of tunes from this talented lady. a slice of Acoustic Soulful-folk with an almost ghostly quality, song writing that is passionate but not melodramatic. A strong line up of musicians including jazz trumpeter Matthew Halsall, Hackney Colliery Band trombonist Magnus Dearness, strings courtesy of The Heritage Orchestra string section, former member of Brighton outfit The Hat, Dan Clark (on harp and double-bass), Part-Time Heroes pianist Stephen McCleery, and a twelve piece choir. Stac’s vocals are refreshing with just a touch of melancholy.
“For me this is definitely the best debut album I’ve heard in 2010, and I’m sure it will be in heavy rotation for months years to come. With the right promotion and support from the public Stac could easily become a household name and help fly the flag for brit-soul both here and abroad, her fresh take on modern soul music should be a welcome alternative to the over-saturated, mediocre retro soul that seems to be clogging up the UK’s commercial soul-system.” Soul UK (SoulUKBlog.com)
“A perfect slice of acoustic soul.” Soul Identity
“What can I say, it was set up to be magnificent and it has not dissappointed, the songs have this light, beautiful, summery feel yet pierce deep into your soul. Stac is incredible..” The Confused Eclectic
“I’ve always been a fan of Stac. It’s refreshing,as oppose to generic tones and styles out there. Then again that’s me, I always beg to differ. IF YOU’RE NOT ON THE EDGE,YOU’RE TAKING UP TOO MUCH SPACE” Andy Williams (The Goods, Montreal, Canada)
“Fucking lovely stuff” Phat Phil Cooper (Sick Trumpet, 2 Dogs)
“Great Stac tunes! Head On Me is my absolute favourite maybe together with Same Old Thing. Lovely songs! Runner ups are All Or Nothing and Whoops – great as well. This girl is such a talent – great work – and big ups to the Scrim for production : )” Snorre Seim, Butti 49, Norway
“Classy stuff, there’s a gentle simplicity that makes these compositions very alluring. Lovely productions too.” Phil Levene,eclecticjazz.com
“I only have one simple word to describe it – BEAUTIFUL!” Markus Milz, Further In Fusion
“Absolutely love it! A corker of an LP! 10/10.” Ross Wakefield, Part-Time Heroes
“I must admit I agree with the Wah wah 45’s crew that this is their best release so far. A clever album that’s complete and has all a true music lover wants & needs, Stac’s superior voice makes this debut album of hers brilliant and her future as a vocalist & lyricist is bright, very bright!” DJ Georgios Paroglou, Greece
“Such an honest recording!” DJ John Hendicott (OneTaste)
“Amazing!” DJ Nelson Ramalho
“Wonderful, sublime sounds” Tom Middleton
“Sounds so much like Erykah Badu” DJ Flow (Play Vybz)
“Beautiful soundtrack for the soul. Already reviewed on radio oxigenio special review “o2 hifi” 3 times a day. Repeat soon.” DJ Tiago (Spaceboys, Portugal)
Radio play for:
- “All Or Nothing” by Gilles Peterson on BBC Radio 1;
- “All Or Nothing” by Trevor Parkee on Departure Lounge Radio, Australia;
- “All or Nothing” by Nick Luscombe on Late Junction on BBC Radio 3;
- “Whoops” by Scott C and Andy Williams, The Goods Radio, 90.3FM, Montreal, Canada;
- “Strainger”, “Same Old Thing” and “Head On Me” by Phil Levene, Elclectic Jazz Radio;
- “Whoops” by Gil Karpas, Resonance FM 104.4FM, London;
- “More” and “All Or Nothing” by Simon Harrison, Basic Soul;
- “Whoops” by Markus Milz, Further In Fusion;
- “Whoops” by freefallradio.com / KUSF, San Fransisco U.S.A.;
- “Same Old Thing” – Lovemonk DJs on Gladyspalmera.com;
- “Cry To Me” and “Whoops” by Pete Isaac, Jelly Jazz Radio;
- “Whoops” by Gil Karpas on Resonance;
- “All Or Nothing” by Georgios Paroglou on Cosmic Sounds;
- “All Or Nothing” by Mike Chadwick on Jazz FM;
- “Same Old Thing” by David Bassin on KUSF 90.3 FM, San Francisco;
- Play Vybz;
- Radio Oxygenio (Portugal);
- Club Silencio Radio Show;
- “All Or Nothing” played on Departure Lounge Radio, Australia;
- “Same Old Thing” by Lovemonk DJs on Gladyspalmera.com.
Featured in Songlines Magazine, recommended release on halcyonline.com.