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What Would Mamma Coal Do? Carra Stasney Updates ‘Red Headed Stranger’ – Interview

Mamma Coal

During SXSW, as Willie Nelson performed at the Luck Family Reunion on the property he built for the filming of Red Headed Stranger, a schoolteacher in Portland, Oregon set up shop in a recording studio to record her own concept album of songs inspired by the landmark album. It’s called Raven Haired Vixen.

More than forty years ago, Willie Nelson conceptualized a whole album inspired by a song he once played as a disc jockey called “Tale of The Red Headed Stranger.” The record traced the life and crimes of a fugitive who kills his wife and her lover but lives into old age to find redemption.

While she spent days and nights rocking her infant son, Carra Stassney thought a lot about Red Headed Stranger. The idea of re-imagining the album with a female character took shape. Stassney asked herself a question: What would make a female character act with such impulsiveness and violence? Then a vision came of a mother standing over her baby’s empty crib waking up in shock and anger that her child had been stolen in the night.

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