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S&M Communion Bread

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart

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Album Review

Clearly a title like S&M Communion Bread by Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart is meant to raise eyebrows and perhaps incite a chuckle or two. But by the album's first song, "Up in Annie's Room," all the humor is gone. As visitors climb Annie's stairs all night and the chandeliers shake, the young narrator knows that something isn't quite right. The dark mood hardly lifts on "The Old Watch," a song that revolves around the gift of a watch by a friend who has left to fight in a war. This is an antiwar song, though in a very subtle way, and while it's not specifically aimed at the current U.S. war in Iraq, it isn't hard to infer the lyric's disapproval. In just a few songs, then, S&M Communion Bread paints a rather bleak portrait of the world, so it's something of a relief with Earle sings lead on "Are You Ready?," a somewhat melancholy lyric saved by nifty guitar work and a nice, jazzy riff. Both Earle and Stuart are fine lead singers (though she sings most of the leads), with her voice ranging from light to terse, and his more country. Together on the choruses, the pair creates a lovely blend that adds another emotional layer to each song. S&M Communion Bread ends with a true a cappella duet on the traditional "The Old Gospel Ship," a fitting end to an engaging, though occasionally dark, album. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 1961 in San Antonio, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The younger sister of country renegade Steve Earle and a gifted singer/songwriter in her own right, Stacey Earle was born and raised in San Antonio, TX; she began playing music at 15, picking up a guitar Steve left behind at the family's home, but after marrying two years later and giving birth to her first child she seemed fated to a domestic life far removed from show business. In 1990 Earle divorced her husband and moved with her kids to Nashville, where they took up residence in Steve's home;...
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S&M Communion Bread, Stacey Earle
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