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An 'endangered pleasure'

St. Clair Productions presents folk/country songwriters Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland.

In reviewing Earle and Stuart's 2005 release "SM Communion Bread," Country Standard Time said: "It's been virtually obligatory for the last few years of mentioning within the first three sentences of any review of her work that, yes, Stacey Earle is the sister of Steve Earle, but this latest release with husband Mark Stuart continues to embellish her reputation as a distinctive and remarkable artist in her own right.

"Part of her charm &

and she is nearly irresistible &

is that she's almost impossible to pin any one label on. Alt.-country, straight-up-hard-core-country, folk, singer-songwriter, Americana &

all of these and more hit the mark at one point or another in her catalog. And Stuart, for his part, is far from a hanger-on or an afterthought. He's a compelling vocal and songwriting partner."

"With modern country stars shilling glitz and patriotism, Earle and husband Mark Stuart create the kind of smart, intimate, lived-in version of Americana that's an endangered pleasure these days," said Creative Loafing-Atlanta GA.

In reviewing one of their shows, the Orlando City Beat said, "Affecting, gentle and brilliant, their music's complexity wasn't obscured but rather illuminated by the simplicity of their setup. Stuart's impressive guitar-playing drove the set and Earle's beautifully lithe voice made it take flight. Stuart's stunningly diverse picking, which boasted touches of honky-tonk, blues, rockabilly and folk, was clarion even in technically demanding sequences. The deftness with which he handles pronounced rhythm sections on his acoustic guitar while playing lead was not only rare but thrilling. And Earle's voice, which was an unusual marriage of childlike purity and woman-from-the-hills mysticism, was the type of nuanced and charming experience that cuts right into your chest."

Earle's first show was on an arena stage in Sydney, playing rhythm guitar in her brother's band, Steve Earle the Dukes, on "The Hard Way" tour in 1990. She spent about a year and a half on tour with her brother and then returned to Nashville to start a career of her own as a country/folk singer/songwriter, a bit of a challenge at age 30. Earle landed a job as a staff writer with the Publishing Co. Ten Ten Music.

Earle and Stuart met at a songwriters night in 1991 and they married in 1992. Until Earle's kids from her first marriage were grown, they performed mostly around Nashville. Since the kids left, and with the success of their CDs released on their independent label Gearle Records, Earle and Stuart have been touring non-stop.

Gearle Records debuted in 1998 with the release of Earle's Simple Gearle CD, followed by Stuart's 1999 release "Songs From A Corner Stage." Earle released "Dancing With Them That Brung Me" in 2000. Earle and Stuart continued to have solo careers until the release of their double CD "Must Be Live" in 2001, at which time they officially announced they were a husband and wife duo. "Never Gonna Let You Go" followed in 2003.

Earle and Stuart's songs are the diaries of their lives &

good times and bad &

completing the love they have for each other. They share the full load together of getting by day by day. They live in Ashland City, Tenn., west of Nashville, but are on the road most of the time, performing on stages of all sizes &

festivals, theaters, clubs, coffee shops, churches, barns, house concerts, live radio, in stores and more.

Earle and Stuart have opened for Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, Ralph Stanley, Richard Thompson, Gregg Brown, Iris Dement and many more. A few of the festivals they've played include the Britt Festivals, Strawberry Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival and Kerrville Folk Festival.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the door, $8 for teens 12-17 and free for under 12 with a paying adult. Tickets are available at the Music Coop in the A Street Marketplace, on-line at or by calling 535-3562.