All about Jean Stafford
Jean is a DYNAMIC and EXPERIENCED Entertainer and the Most Awarded Female Country Music Entertainer in Australia. She has acclaimed audiences in television and live performances world wide. To quote America’s Queen of Country Music. Miss KITTY WELLS –
“Jean is equal to any artist at the Grand Ole Opry in the USA.”
IT STARTS WITH -
An endless passion for country music, for voices,
for love, for people, for fans.
From the rural district of Meander in Northern Tasmania to Nashville Tennessee – the Country Music Capital of the World – Jean Stafford triumphed on a remarkable journey. The road was long and hard for the silver voiced girl who made her first public appearance on Tasmanian TV at the age of 12.
Born in Tasmania to a Tasmanian Mother and a Navajo (Native American) Father (who she never knew existed until much later in her life), she spent her earlier years in the hills of Meander, Northern Tasmania. After leaving school, she worked as a kitchen hand at the local hotel, and started to learn her craft as a budding country singer performing at the local hotels, country halls and dances. Eventually, her childhood dream came true.
Entering country music at a very early age, Jean rose to the top winning three Australasian Golden Guitars for Female Vocalist. Jean Stafford is one of the brightest stars ever to appear over the Australian country music horizon. Jean has been blessed with one of the most powerful and accurate country voices in Australia. The strength and tonal quality of her delivery are quite unique and it is exhilarating to experience her live performances as well as on disc.
Jean’s career has come along steadily since she took out first prize in a country music talent quest from radio 7LA Launceston. She enjoyed TV exposure from the age of 12 when she quested in the earliest days of television in Northern Tasmania in the popular “Show-Time” series from TNT-9.
Her recording career began with the release on Hadley Records of a duet with Dusty Rankin. She followed this with a further track on Dusty’s second release Family Bible. More exposure came with two solo tracks on Country Music Around Australia Vol. 1.
Her first solo album Flowers for Mama was to gain Jean nation-wide recognition, for it was with this record and the song What Kind of A Girl Do You Think I Am that she took out top female singer at the Australasian Country Music Awards in Tamworth. A television special featuring this album followed shortly afterwards for TNT-9. Jean secured her third gold guitar at Tamworth with her gospel recording of That Glory Bound Train, and shortly after this signed a contract with EMI Music Sydney.
Someday I’ll Take Home The Roses
To this date, the most successful song Jean has written is Someday I’ll Take Home The Roses. Written in 1982, it was the title track of her second EMI album and has become, as Tom T. Hall refers to it, her signature song. It has been also released on many of Jean’s compilations and been recorded by other artists including:
- Renee Gayer
- An Instrumental version by Wayne Appleby
- Was part of the sound track for the Australian and European TV series Seven Deadly Sins which has been shown in Australia and Europe.
I NEVER WANT IT TO END
Jean's past tours
NEW ZEALAND TOURS
Jean has completed four tours to New Zealand – twice to the North Island that included appearances at the New Zealand Golden Guitar Awards at Hastings, and a successful 30-day tour of the South Island. In 1988, Jean headlined the Auckland Gold Guitar Awards where she was presented with an award for Services to the Industry of Country Music.
AUSTRALIA'S QUEEN OF COUNTRY MUSIC
In 1989, Jean Stafford was officially crowned Australia’s Queen of Country Music by the industry and fans, in Sydney by the late Mr. Clive A’Rundle, and Country Music Legend, Smoky Dawson (an honour she will carry for life).
FEMALE COUNTRY PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Jean won the Australian Entertainment MO Awards Female Country Performer of the year award in 1991. She was lucky enough to meet with TV presenter Ray Martin on the Midday Show.
Jean with the Rally Car she drove in the 1995 Variety Club Tasmanian Bash. She managed to finished an impressive 4th outright. Jean still loves fast cars and bikes.
HANDS OF FAME
Jean has her hands immortalised in the Hands Of Fame in 3 States of Australia.
AUSTRALIAN WAXWORKS TAMWORTH
Jean was immortalised in the Australian Waxworks of Stars in Tamworth NSW in 1986.
SINGING AMBASSADOR FOR TASMANIA
Jean was appointed Honorary Commissioner for Tourism, Sport & Recreation as an Ambassador from the Tasmanian Government to the USA. Jean wrote a song called Tassie’s Got It All for the Tasmanian Government to use as a promotional package to present Tasmania as a world tourist attraction.
DANIEL O’DONNELL AND JEAN AT TWIN TOWNS
Jean and Daniel have a mutual admiration for each other’s talent with Daniel presenting Jean with his first Platinum album as a gesture of friendship. On his last Australian Tour, Jean was invited by Daniel to visit with him and to attend his concert at Twin Towns on the Gold Coast. He invited her to the stage to sing a duet with him – a song Daniel had just recorded, which was a hit for Jean – Beyond the Great Divide and one of his favourite Jean Stafford tracks.
The Classic Jean Stafford album was number one and achieved a Double Platinum Artist Of The Year award by the fans of Australia in 1991.
ALL OVER THE WORLD
The Nashville Connection
Jean is in the luxurious position of having worked with the cream of the Nashville musicians and able to call many of them personal friends.
Jimmy hit Nashville in 1957,and for almost 50 years was a major player in the pedal steel ranks. His skills were multifaceted, as the description on his induction in 2000 into the Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame testifies – “recording artist, touring sideman, producer, instructor, and inventor of‘mu-sym-tab”.
He created the ‘Crawford Cluster’ knee lever concept, and with John Hughey produced JCH pedal steel guitars from 1981. His talent was quickly recognised by others, as he got work with Cowboy Copas, George Jones, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky and the Johnny Wright/Kitty Wells show.
He was also recording heavily, being used by Dolly Parton, Slim Whitman, Chet Atkins, and so many other recording greats. Jimmie also had strong Australian connections. He toured with Slim Whitman in 1998 and 1989 where he formed a strong friendship with Jean. He subsequently produced four tracks for Jean’s gold-selling That Says It All album in the early 90s and the song Tassie’s Got It All in the mid 90s. Jimmie also toured with the Queens of Country Kitty Wells and Jean Stafford in Queensland Australia in 1998 and co-produced (with Jean) her brand new album Let The Dance Begin.
Jimmy Crawford died in Nashville on 2 February 2005. He was 69.
Jeans tribute to Jimmy
Jimmy, goodbye my friend and thank you for the memories that will live on in our hearts and on disk. We will miss you so very much. You were a great friend and you surrounded every one you touched with love.
Thank you for believing in me, for giving me your untiring support, and for teaching me to believe in myself, in miracles, and God.
May you rest in piece; you have taken a little piece of us all with you on your journey to Gods holy Land.
We love you mate.
Eternal love – Jean Stafford – Australia
Prolific is the word to describe veteran guitarist Harold Ray Bradley. In December 1990, Bradley was elected President of the 3,500 member Nashville Association of Musicians Local 257 of the American Federation of Musicians. A Life Member, Bradley has been active in the Nashville Local for many years. Harold Bradley was the first president of NARAS’ Nashville chapter and continues as a member of the Grammy organisation’s Board of Governors.
In December 1991, Harold Bradley marks his 45th year as a studio musician. He was part of the original “A Team” of Nashville superpickers, one of those John Sebastian immortalised in his song “Nashville Cats.” Harold Bradley can be heard on some of Elvis Presley’s records and movie soundtracks as well as those of such entertainers as Perry Como, Joan Baez, Buddy Holly, Ivory Joe Hunter, Pee Wee King, George Morgan, Hank Williams, Burl Ives, Henry Mancini, Connie Francis, George Beverly Shea, Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, Leon Russell, The Everly Brothers, Gene Watson, Marty Robbins, Freddie Hart, Conway Twitty, Jean Stafford and Roy Clark.
Harold played guitars and was session leader on Jean’s first American session that netted a No. 1 hit (A Woman’s work is never Done) and with the other tracks from that session, going onto become Platinum for her. Jean and Harold have remained friends since that first session and visits when ever Jean is in town.
Some of the musicians from Nashville that have recorded with Jean
Sonny is one of the most respected and recorded Pedal Steel Guitarists in the world. Sonny has played on every track Jean has cut in Nashville except “Tassie’s Got It All”. Sonny often mentions to Jean how he would deem it an honour to come to Australia, someday and just do one tour with her band.
Paul Franklin Jn
Paul has recorded with the top Country and Pop Stars from all over the world. Session leader, Pedal Steel and Pedal Dobro Guitarist on the track written and recorded by Jean in Nashville “Tassie’s Got It All” plus the instrumental version of “Tassie’s Got It All”. This track is a must to hear for any musicians, professional and students alike.
Brent’s amazing guitar playing can be heard on most of the top Country Star’s CDs from all over the world today. Brent played electric guitar on the track written and recorded by Jean in Nashville “Tassie’s Got It all” plus the instrumental version of the same song and literally burned up the track with some of greatest solos and licks you’d ever want to hear. Country guitar picking at its best. Check out his website at www.brentmason.com
Being personal friends with Lloyd and his wife since the early nineties and with Lloyd not recording due to illness for 12 years, Jean was lucky to have him record on Let the dance begin. The name Lloyd Green is seen on so many major country CDs like Charley Pride and Don Williams (the list goes on). For more details on Lloyd, go to www.lloydgreentribute.com
John was the steel sound on all of Conway Twitty’s hits and toured with him for over 25 years, plus he is the steel sound behind many of Vince Gill’s hits and many more major artists. For 12 years, Jean and John tried to work together on a record but on one occasion, their schedules fit. It is John Hughey that Jean has immortalized in her track Steelin’ The 2 Step, Is It Over and Gods Creation with John playing steel guitar on these tracks. For more information on the great John Hughey, check his website at www.johnhughey.com
Hagus (Pig) Robbins
There is always a buzz with the musicians when they learn that The Pig is on piano. He has recorded on more hits in Nashville than any other musician over the years. Since the early nineties, Jean has recorded with this man and no CD of hers would feel complete without him on piano.
Gene Chrisman (Drums) Rick Boyer (Bass)
Gene is the drumming legion from Memphis and has recorded with artists from Elvis to just about everyone. Gene along with Bass player Rick Boyer set the real heart to the CD Let The Dance Begin and made Jeans job as vocalist so easy and such a pleasure to record.
Stuart set the track alight on my earlier Tassie’s Got It All track with his great blue grass fiddlin’. On the CD Let The Dance Begin, he played some of the best country fiddle you’d ever want to hear from ballad to western swing. He called it on the track I’m Goin’ Crazy, his satanic fiddlin’. To view photo’s of Jean and Musicians in Studio, see the 12 page booklet inside the CD Let The Dance Begin.
Millions of people listen to Curtis Young every day. His voice is heard on the top selling albums across the world. His resume reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Country Music. With more than 25 Gold and 35 Platinum albums to his credit, Curtis “Mr. Harmony” Young has made a definite mark as a harmony singer and a solo performer. Curtis and his team of harmony singers have sang on every track that Jean has recorded in Nashville and you can check out his website at www.curtisyoung.com
A Lifetime Dream Comes True
In 1998, Jean filled a lifetime dream and recorded a single with her idol and long time friend, Miss Kitty Wells USA, and appeared on two shows in Queensland. Kitty Wells visited Australia for the first time in April 1998 and joined with Australia’s Queen of Country Jean Stafford for two very special concerts under the banner of The Queens of Country Music. Jean said “I heard the ladies in the audience at Comet, Queensland singing along with every word of every song to most all the songs. IT was a testament to the power of those lyrics”.
Making Believe, Some day I’ll take home the Roses, Searching, That say’s it all, Wayward Wind and the aforementioned It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels all echoed around the Queensland bush as the Queens of Country Music took the stage.
At the grand age of 79, Kitty made the show a family affair. Her husband of 60 years and also a star of the Grand Ole Opry, Johnny Wright, sang several of his hits, including Poison Love and Stop the World. Their son, Bobby Wright (Willie, from TV’s McHale’s Navy) had the crowd laughing with his down home humour, and amongst his repertoire gave us his hit Here I Go Again. At the end of the show, Kitty was joined by Jean Stafford, to perform the duet version of It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels which had just been recorded in Nashville USA and released in Australia by Massive Records.
A duet recording with Kitty Wells on It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels is the realisation of a childhood dream when, at the age of nine, Jean was inspired to sing and play guitar along with The Queen Of Country Music on a little battery record player.
Who would have ever thought, (including that little girl from back in the hills of Meander in Tasmania) that in 1989, she would be bestowed with the equivalent title, and be crowned the Queen of Country Music of Australia just like her life long Idol Miss Kitty Wells. The highlight to this story is that Miss Kitty Wells recognised Jean’s title by recording with her and then co-starring together in live concerts under the banner of the Queens of Country.
Jean also became a personal friend of Miss Kitty’s family.