Sometimes when the singing starts at church, I don’t sing but just stand and listen. This usually happens on those Sundays when Stacy Lantz leads worship. When Stacy sings the old songs, somehow it seems more worshipful to listen than to sing along. Her voice is strong and soulful and stirring. When she sings a song I’ve never really liked, suddenly I like it and understand how it made its way into the canon. One day she’s going to sing “Kum Ba Yah” or “Ice Ice Baby” and I’ll be forced to take back all those mean things I said.
How to describe Stacy’s voice? Patsy Cline is a good place to start. She has that kind of power and earthiness (if earthiness is the right word). Brandi Carlisle’s powerful voice may be another point of comparison, though Stacy is more subdued and sounds less like a jet airplane about to take off.
Something about Stacy’s singing makes me think of a summer peach–not one trucked in from California and ripened in the fluorescent glow of the produce section, but one you get from the peach shed. As any peach connoisseur knows, the first difference is one of texture. Stacy’s voice is as warm and pulpy as a shed-peach. And though a shed-peach is sweet, its real flavor comes from a pleasing tartness and another, mysterious flavor (there’s no word for it but “peachiness”) that hits high on the soft palate and, for a Georgia boy at least, unlocks more wistfulness than Proust’s madeleine.
For the last few years, Stacy Lantz has been one of Nashville’s great background vocalists. If you’ve listened to any record produced by Andy Osenga, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Stacy sing. Recently Stacy moved from the background to the foreground with the release of her album Ready this Time, also produced by Osenga.
Like Patsy Cline before her, Stacy gives heartache a local habitation and a name. On the album’s title track she sings,
I will be here waiting,
I will hold the line.
And you can take your time, love–
I’ll make the most of mine.
To quote the lyric doesn’t begin to convey the power of the music. Stacy’s soulful rendering of these simple and straightforward words is heart-wrenching. As my grandfather would have said, it makes you want to lay down and waller.
But the heartache in Ready This Time is balanced by several bright, poppy, and very fun tunes like “Keep It Simple” and “Happy.” Stacy’s emotional range is a broad as her vocal range.
It gives me great pleasure to commend Ready This Time to you.
“Ready This Time”
by Stacy Lantz
Jonathan Rogers is the author of The Terrible Speed of Mercy, one of the finest biographies of Flannery O’Connor we've ever read. His other books include the Wilderking Trilogy–The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking–as well as The World According to Narnia and a biography of Saint Patrick. He has spent most of his adult life in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his wife Lou Alice are raising a houseful of robustious children.