Stacy Wilson and The Band Raven

“She can sing anything!”

She can sing anything….

Or at least that’s the word from Creed Wilson, talking about his wife, Stacy, lead songer for their group billed as Stacy Wilson and the Band Raven.
Listening to some of the band’s work on YouTube, we’d be inclined to accept the word of her husband as the gospel.
And speaking of gospel, Stacy traces her roots back to the days as a youngster when she and her family traveled around the nation singing for the Lord.
When her dad passed away, Stacy’s mom encouraged her to keep singing, so she’s done just that. Likewise, Stacy’s sister and their mom have continued to sing gospel songs as Ordained.
The Best of the North Georgia Mountains recently spent a few minutes talking with Stacy and Creed. They’ve been frequent performers at local clubs, including Rocco’s a few days ago. We’re sure after you get to know them in this interview, you’ll want to check ’em out at a local club.
MITCH – Let’s start first with how you got into the music business
STACY – Oh my goodness. I’ve been singing since I was about 2 years old. But I sang with my mom and dad and my sister in church and then I went through a divorce with my first ex-husband and met my husband Creed who’s my current husband. We just started a band with nothing but a guitar and a cajon.
We started a band with a guy named Charlie Durham from Chattanooga who played rhythm guitar in a band I was with before I met my husband Creed. It was me and Creed and Charlie, and then we just started adding musicians, and it just kinda went from there.
M –Who is in your band now?
S – My husband Creed plays the drums. Aaron Brown plays lead guitar and banjo, and he does some harmony and songs, too. Then I have Jay Harris who plays bass guitar and sings, too.
M – Rick Nelson’s not with you now?
S – No, he and Jay played with the Collins Brothers out of Cleveland, Tennessee. Rick Nelson used to play keyboards and the fiddle for us, but he moved due to his job out of state, to Ohio.
M – You mentioned that you grew up singing. What are some of your memories of when you were a youngster.
S – Oh, man, we traveled on a big Silver Eagle bus. I mean, we sang everywhere, all kinds of churches. We were The Hastys for years. Ever since I was probably 12 we traveled everywhere.
M – So that was a gospel group?
S – Yes.
M – That was your mom and dad?
S – My mom Glenda and my dad Shelby and my sister Catrina. My dad’s passed away.
M – Do your mom and sister still sing?
S – They do. They have their own group Ordained. They still sing gospel. When the convention was in Nashville, we went to Nashville every year, and then they moved it to Kentucky and we sang up there at the quartet convention.
M – So how long have you been with the current band?
S – The Band Raven? We’ve had this band almost six years. The guys that I have right now have been with me almost five years. We have gone through a couple of guitar players and bass players. We’re still together. (Laughs)
M – How did you come up with the name Raven?
S – My favorite bird is a blackbird. I guess you could call it a crow, you could call it a raven. But that’s how I came up with it. Do you want Creed to tell you the story?
M – Sure.
CREED – The way we came up with it, Charlie Durham actually came up with the name to call us Raven because we didn’t want to be assigned to one genre of music because we played everything, and so Charlie thought being called Raven, we could just play country, we could play rock, Southern rock, whatever we wanted to play. But then we got kinda of a nasty email from a band in England called Raven, and said we needed to change our name or we were going to get in trouble.
So everywhere we went to play, people would say there’s the band Raven. So then we started going by the name The Band Raven, and they didn’t like that either so we thought since everybody comes to hear Stacy, let’s just put her out front and be Stacy Wilson and the Band Raven. Once we did that, then all the phone calls and emails, that pretty much stopped, so that’s what we’ve stuck with.
S – But a raven bird is my favorite bird. I absolutely love ‘em, but yeah. Just kinda stuck.
C – They still call us TBR a lot.
M – Where do you play now?
S – Well, right now, we’ve done some private parties, but with the COVID, everything’s slowed down a little bit. We have a show at Rocco’s on July 25. I’m hoping and we’re praying that it’ll be back up soon.
C – We play Chattanooga, we play over in Alabama.
S – Atlanta
C – Blue Ridge, just about anywhere they’ll call us.
S – We’ve played in Nashville.
C – Yeah, Nashville, that’s kinda rough. We did a bunch of shows in Nashville, but it’s a beast in Nashville. They kinda treat you differently there.
M – How so?
C – Because Nashville is a tourist city, they have a band like every door down. Every place has a band. We played Rippy’s on the Rooftop, which was fun. We played Tootsie’s. We played Honky Tonk Central. That’s probably the one that hurt us the most because they’ve got three floors. They got a band on every floor. We were on the second floor, and when you play there, you only make $35 a person, plus food. The way you make your money is they expect you to get tips. When we first started, we didn’t know how the system works. You work your tips mostly to get paid there. And then we were on the second floor, and people being tourists, they come to the first floor and check it out, they go to the second floor, and then they go up to the third floor. They came and told us that our job was to keep people on the second floor.
S – We sang our heart out, though.
C – You play four hours, no bathroom breaks, no nothing. It’s four hours solid. After that, we thought, you know what, we make a lot more money closer to the house and people are a lot nicer. So Nashville, yeah, y’all can have it.
M – Now is this a full-time gig for y’all?
S – No, we all have jobs.
C – We all have day jobs. This is just like an extra hobby because we all have really good jobs. We just do this as a hobby.
S – If I ever got the opportunity, though, if I was ever able.
C -If that happened, I’d say, you go and I’d keep insurance on you. (Laughs)
M – What are y’all’s jobs?
S – I am a teacher, and have been working in child care for 30 years. I work in a local daycare.
M – In Ringgold?
S – No, we live in Dalton now. We’re actually based out of Dalton now. I work in Chickamauga. Aaron works for a sign company with his dad. He makes those big signs.
C – Jay is a manager at a carpet mill out in Chatsworth. I work for Shaw Industries. I’ve been with them over 32 years. Now my job title is Shaw Transportation logistics coordinator.
S – Whoa.
C – Like right now I’m working from home. I’ve got my laptop. I’m over all the local manufacturing facilities for Shaw Industries. I handle all the shipments that come into Dalton. There’s four of us in my department; we’ve each got certain lanes that we’re over. I handle all the loads out of Thomson, Georgia; Aiken, South Carolina; Decatur, Tennessee; Yuma, Arizona; Santa Fe Springs, California. Then Ringgold, Georgia.
M – My dad was a traffic manager in Calhoun for years and years. So I know where you’re coming from there. He was in charge of the shipping department.
C – Yeah, all day, setting up trailers, making sure all our manufacturers have the carpet, the yarn, the pellets, everything they need to keep them running. That’s what I’m in charge of.
M – Now the daycare, is it open?
S – Yeah, we opened back up about a couple of months ago now. We check temperatures and make sure nobody has a fever, and wash your hands constantly. Of course, we were doing that before, but it’s more now, for sure.
M – Creed, how did you get into the music?
S – (Laughs)
C – I got into music through church. I mean, Stacy and her family were members at my church, and her family would always come and sing at our church. They used tracks sometimes, and her mama played piano. They didn’t have any drums. I was like, I would love to play drums while she sang. I had never played drums, so I went to my pastor and asked him, hey, what do you think about having drums in the church? He had a meeting with his deacons and asked them, and he told me if I took the time to learn how to play the drums, they’d let me play in church. So I was like, all right. I bought me a little kit and hung out with our piano player and bass player – they were husband and wife at the time. They taught me how to read time, how to find the one beat of a song, so I started playing drums in church.
M – How long ago was that?
C – Probably 15 years ago. Then I started playing drums for a gospel group, and I traveled with them for about a year and a half. After that, Stacy’s mom and dad got sick and they had to come off the road so they told Stacy that she needed to keep singing. I was in a band, and she was in a country band that she was singing with. It just so happened the drummer that was in her band, some shows he couldn’t make, so they asked me to fill in and I started playing drums for them. Then the leader of the band she was in, they wanted to go a different direction. So me and Stacy were like, hey, let’s form our own band, let’s do our own thing. That’s what we did. That’s how we got Charlie.
S – He used to play guitar for Trisha Yearwood.
C – Yeah, he played Nashville a lot. We just did acoustic shows for a while, and back then we didn’t really know what all Stacy could sing. People could come up and say, hey, try this song. Play this song, play this song. We finally realized that she can sing just about anything! I mean, male or female, she could sing.
S – Tell me, and I’ll try.
C – That’s when we started to add a bass player and a guitar player. It took us a while to find the right fit.
S – Yeah. We finally did though.
C – Two guitar players, yeah. Now we’ve got that perfect camaraderie, perfect fit, and we’ve been together almost five years. It’s going strong right now.
S – Yeah.
M – Now when you first started with Raven, were you married, or is that how you met?
S – Well, we met in church. We grew up together.
C – I’ve known Stacy ever since she was probably 15 years old.
S – I was probably 12, 13.
C – Because I remember singing in our church way back in the day. We were both married to different people at the time.
S – Went through divorces.
C – Once we started playing music together, we just hit it off.
S – And here we are.
C – Things started from there.
S – (Laughs)
M – I’ve looked at some of your YouTube tapes. You did a great job on that Fleetwood song…
S – “Dreams”?
M – Yeah, that reminds me of my high school days because that was popular my senior year.
S – Oh yeah. Everybody requests that one. I have to do it just about every show.
M – I saw something about “Folsom Prison Blues.”
S – Yeah, I can do that, too.
C – She sings that one, any country song that she thinks she can pull off, she’ll sing it.
S – I’ll try, at least once.
M – How do you come up with a normal show? Is it different every time you go out?
S – No, we try to do basically the same thing, but we just add songs. Somebody will hear a song – like Jay or Aaron will hear a song.
C – They’ll send us a text. Let’s learn this one. Let’s see what we can do with it.
S – Then we’ll all get together through the week and practice it out.
C – If it works, we add it. If Stacy’s not feeling it, then we don’t.
S – Some songs I don’t really sing. There’s been a few I’m like, ugh, I don’t think I can do that one. But most of ‘em I can do.
C – Our set list consists of country songs, rock songs, Southern rock. We want to play something for everybody! We want to play something that somebody somewhere will like because some people don’t like the country, some people don’t like the rock, so we try to play something for everybody.
M – What’s your favorite song to perform? Do you have one?
C – I have two. One of ‘em is “Turn the Page.”
M – Oh, I love that.
C – That one, then one new one we just added in called “I Ain’t Missing You at All” by John Waite. Stacy tears that one up! That’s my two favorites we play just because they get a good reaction from the audience. They all love those songs.
M – Yeah, I was listening to “Turn the Page” yesterday, in fact. Had Bob Seger on iTunes. So what about you, Stacy?
S – Me? I’m a huge Miranda Lambert fan. I love her. Let’s see. Gosh… What is the name of that song? “Fastest Girl in Town” as far as one of my most favorites.
C – We normally don’t even play that one. We use it for sound check.
S – Yeah, but I love it.
C – Yeah, we play it during sound check, that’s the only time.
S – We just added the Eagles song….
C – “Life in the Fast Lane.”
S – Yeah, we just added that one. That one’s becoming one of my favorites.
M – How many songs do you perform on an average night?
C – We do about 15 a set, we do three sets, so about 45 to 50. Usually when we get done, people always holler, “one more, one more.”
S – Yeah, we do encores like crazy.
C – We always have to do a couple more. There’s about 80 songs that we can do. We got some that we put on our set list that’s just extras. Some people ask us to do “Purple Rain” which that’s not on our set list, but a lot of times they’ll tip us and we’ll do it because Stacy can sing the crap out of that one, too.
S – (Laughs)
C – “Tennessee Whiskey,” that’s another one that people request, and we’ll sing it. “Hotel California,” we’ll play it on request. Like I said, Stacy can sing anything. It’s amazing.
S – He has to say that. He’s married to me!
M – Do you sing to him?
S – Yeah, I mean sometimes.
C – You haven’t.
S – (Laughs)
M – When did you start singing with your mom and dad in The Hastys?
S – I want to say about 11 years old.
M – So you’ve kinda grown up in the business then?
S – I have. We’ve done it since we were little, me and my sister both. Then my kids are very talented. They can all sing. My baby boy plays drums. Then my oldest son sings, and my daughter can sing. She has an amazing voice, but she’s so shy…
M – What are their names?
S – My daughter’s name is Emma, and she’s 16. Then my oldest son is Levi, and he is 23. My baby boy Preston is 21. They don’t stay little for long. They grow up fast.
M – Yeah, my youngest is 12 and my oldest will soon be 28. The years roll by. Think your kids might ever sing with you?
S – Uh… I don’t know. You never know what the future holds. You never know. They could definitely do it, but you never know.
C – Preston’s played drums for you.
S – Yeah, Preston has filled in on some songs playing drums. He’s in Nashville now – my baby boy, he’s living up there and playing drums.
M – Does he hope to pursue that?
S – I think he’s gonna get picked up because a lot of ‘em are looking at him. He’s gonna do great.
M – So has he always been musically inclined?
S – Yes, all three of ‘em have. I mean, I basically raised ‘em in that, you know, so they really won’t have a choice. (Laughs)
M – Yeah. I guess Creed is kinda the rookie.
S – He does pretty good, though.
M – That’s impressive, Creed. So how old were you when you started playing the drums?
C – I was in my late 30s.
S – Yeah, you played baseball and basketball.
C – I’m not what they call a flashy drummer.
S – He keeps it in the pocket. Simple.
C – I just play what I’m supposed to play. I just want to play what I’m supposed to play.
S – Don’t need none of that flashy stuff.
C – Keep it simple. I can’t do all the double bass beats. I can do heel-toe really good, to make it sound like a double beat. That’s the extent of my abilities.
M – I admire you for doing something like that as you got older. That’s impressive to pursue a dream like that. I have no talent at all – I took some lessons when I was about 20.
S – I don’t play anything. But I just sing. My mother always wanted me just to sing – she didn’t want me to play anything. She said, they just need to hear you. You don’t need to play anything – you just need to sing. So that’s what I did.
M – There you go.
C – Now I have to play music to support my drum habit.
S – Yeah (laughs).
C – I buy drums like crazy.
S – Yes, he does!
M – I guess there’s all kinds of good drums out there, better than…
S – He thinks there is. He’s got three sets of drums now.
C – Yeah, one of ‘em is electric. We use it for practice. If we play somewhere small, I’ll take my electric kit just because it makes it so much simpler but it sounds good, sounds really good.
M – You can inspire people that it’s never too late to pick that up. Not that you were old, but that’s still impressive.
C – I just got my Mapex Saturn V. That’s my baby. I haven’t even gotten to play it yet because the places we play in, we’re playing outside, so I take my little bop kit. I don’t want to take my big kit to that. I play my Sonar AQ2, it’s just an 18-inch kit, 12-inch tom, with a 14-inch floor tom. Just keep it simple.
M – I saw some of your shows on YouTube. Are there any other places online that we could listen to you?
C – We’ve got some originals on YouTube. If you pull up Stacy Wilson, you can hear the originals.
M – So y’all do some originals.
S – Creed has written quite a few songs. We’ve got three of ‘em worked out. Three or four?
C – Four. Two of ‘em we had mastered in Nashville; they’re on YouTube. I did videos to those, too. Those are pretty good.
M – What’s the names of those?
C – One’s called “I Choose”. Another is “Dark Side in Me.” We’ve got one on ReverbNation called “Carry Me.” That was one of the first songs I’ve written. It’s not out on YouTube, just Reverb Nation. That’s my favorite out of the originals that I’ve written.
M – What do you see in the future for performing?
S – I mean, for right now, doing what we’re doing.
C – If somebody wants to take a chance on her, because she would do very well, I would support her 100 percent. They know she’s got the talent, it’s just her being at the right place at the right time getting her in front of the right person. Because we all know if she were to go, they’d put her with a lot better drummer…
S – Oh my Lord (laughing)
C – She can really do something. As far as me, I mean, I love my job. I love playing music. We’ll play every chance we get. People call us all the time, want us to play here, want us to play there. The show we did on the Fourth of July, they’ve already booked us for next year … with a big raise. They thought they underpaid us this year, told us y’all are worth a whole lot more than you’re asking for.
M – What do you think about playing at Rocco’s?
S – Oh man, we love Rocco’s. Rocco, he’s awesome. We just love him. Best place – the waitresses are wonderful, they take care of us.
C – Food is awesome.
C – Matt, their sound man, is amazing. We’ve played there so much that he knows what we like.
S – He does.
C – He sets us up in like three minutes, and we’re done, ready to go.
S – It’s one of our favorite places to play. It’s top notch. We love Rocco. Thank you so much for asking us to do this. We feel honored.