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Doug & Telisha Williams

Monday, February 20, 2006

Artist Spotlight: ALECIA NUGENT

Born and raised in Hickory Grove, Louisiana, Alecia Nugent grew up surrounded by music. Her father, Jimmy Nugent, started the Southland Bluegrass Band the year she was born, and even as a young child she was being invited with her brothers and cousins to sing a special number with the group. “We lived and breathed bluegrass and gospel,” Alecia recalls, and as she grew older, that immersion translated into a growing role with the band – first as a guest, singing a featured number like Holly Dunn’s hit, “Daddy’s Hands,” and then, from her late teens, as the Southland Band’s lead singer. Between informal family singing sessions at home and her appearances on stage, Alecia developed a command of bluegrass and country harmony and a broad-ranging repertoire. “My dad was pretty much my biggest influence,” she says. “If we weren’t at a festival, he had us sitting at the piano with my mom, teaching us to sing harmony parts and how to blend them together.” Applying those lessons to bluegrass classics by the Stanley Brothers, Jimmy Martin, Flatt & Scruggs and more, she also found herself drawn to recordings by country artists such as Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Reba McEntire – the latter, she says, “probably my biggest female influence at first.” With the passage of time, those influences and experiences were melded with her natural talent to form a singer of remarkable beauty and power.By the end of the 1990s, Alecia had accumulated a small but devoted core of supporters, and one of them – Mississippi bluegrass promoter Johnny Stringer – eventually offered to bankroll a solo album that would spotlight her interpretive genius. Given free rein in choosing a producer, she turned to Carl Jackson, whose roots in the state’s bluegrass scene had blossomed into a world-class career as instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer, and even before the CD that ultimately became Alecia Nugent was completed, the confidence of her backers bore fruit. With its engaging mix of bluegrass and country classics and rarities, Alecia Nugent serves as a perfect introduction.

Listen for a special interview with Alecia Nugent as she stops by The Americana Highway with Jack Ryan on Sunday, February 26th to debut her brand new Rounder Records CD "A Little Girl...A Big Four Lane."


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