I am so thrilled and honored to once again have my dear friend and a fantastic musician and recording artist, John Tracy back with us. Now, your most likely wondering why Cat is spotlighting a musician since most of my spotlights are with authors and about books. Well, musicians are writers too!
Writing music I am sure can have a whole different set of challenges and be very rewarding when a new CD is finished like John’s new one titled “Quintessential.” So this time I am including a little interview with John on just how this new CD came about. Besides, Cat loves listening to music and I enjoy John’s sound of a little it soft rock with a dash of country twang … He makes a difference in the lives of the people who listen to and love his music on our “Journey of Life!” ~Catherine Lyon
My Interview With John Tracy
Where were you born and raised?
What inspired your writing and the new release of Quintessential?
This album is mostly an accumulation of the most recent songs I’ve written. It’s always exciting to get the new stuff out into the world. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of “Quintessential” is “of the pure and essential essence of something” and “of or relating to the most perfect embodiment of something.” When we started out working on this album, I don’t think we had an overall theme in mind. Like I said, these were just the newest songs written and I think they are my best to date.
However, once we got started, I think the overall theme of the songs we put together is the quest to find that pure and essential essence. Perhaps that’s in the love and peace in “Home,” or in the comfort of listening to the “Midnight Moon.” Maybe it is in finding the joy in “Blue Sunny Skies,” or the longing for that healthy relationship in “The Shallow Game.”
Do you have training in music or attended music school?
I don’t have formal music training. I had a couple of guitar teachers early on that showed me the basics. As far as my fingerpicking style of playing guitar, I developed that on my own, playing by ear. I had a reel-to-reel (ok, I’m dating myself here) and I would record favorite songs onto tape and then play them back bar by bar, teaching myself to play every note.
What music and other musicians do listen to and inspire you?
Early on, I was inspired by all of my musical heroes from the 70s – singer/songwriters like Simon & Garfunkel, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Jim Croce, etc. That was an era to me when music really said something, lyrics were meaningful, and melodies were intricate and interesting.
To be completely honest, I find it hard to be inspired by many mainstream artists in this current musical era. The music is either too electronic or to manufactured (meaning it all sounds the same) and it just doesn’t move me. There are artists that are fun to listen to of course, but I don’t find a lot of inspiration for my own songwriting.
The cool thing about working with Kevin is that he honors who I am as a singer and a songwriter, allowing me to be myself while adding in elements that are modern and current without destroying the integrity of the songs.
How long did this CD take and why?
It took almost a year from first recordings to the final product. We do things a bit differently perhaps than most. We record a scratch or demo of the song (just vocals and acoustic guitar) and send that to our producer, Kevin McNoldy at Cphonic Mastering.
He then lays down the framework for the song – a bass line, drums, maybe some piano or electric guitar. From there, we go back and re-record the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks. Once we’re finished with our parts, it’s back to Kevin for more instrumentation and background vocals. We kind of go back and forth like this, bouncing around ideas, adding or taking away parts until we’ve carved out the perfect song. This is why it takes a little while.
However, we don’t get in a rush. We work the song until all three of us (my wife Teri, who is the co-producer, Kevin and myself) are happy. I have that luxury because I am an independent artist not beholden to a label. It allows me to make good quality music, not music that has to be forced into a formula or rushed through.
Your unique offer to do House Concerts is very different, how did this idea come about?
I’ll be really honest – these are the most fun and rewarding events for me. They are intimate, personal and the audience is really there to listen to what I bring. Unlike a bar or restaurant where there are tons of distractions and so much competing for the audience’s attention. Or like large venues where the audience is removed and separate that it’s harder to feel a connection with them.
My music is a bit more sophisticated than what is typically on the radio. So, it’s best appreciated when you can actually listen to and take in the lyrics and feel the melody move your soul. A house concert is the ideal setting for that. And the audience finds it ultimately more rewarding as well. Not only do they get to know the music, but they get to hear the stories behind the songs and get a glimpse into who I am not only as an artist but as a person.
If anyone out there is interested in learning more, just stop by my website
Where in any state is your favorite place or venue to play and why?
That’s a tough one! I’ve had the opportunity to play all across the US and in Europe. Honestly, anywhere that I have an attentive audience is a favorite for me.
I will share this story talking about house concerts. About three years ago, I met a radio host from Sweden on Twitter. We hit it off in our conversations online. In 2016, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe, so I talked to him about hosting a house concert. It was something he had never heard about before but was intrigued by the idea. So, he set it up, inviting friends and family from all over Sweden. Some came from as far away as Norway. Everyone commented about how much fun it was to get together, have time to visit and then be able to enjoy live music together. They had so much fun, they keep asking when I’m coming back.
“I consider my style to be a blend of Acoustic Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Country, and Adult Contemporary. Take a listen to “Mightnight Moon” one of Cat’s Favorites!”
Tell us a little more about John Tracy, like, are you married? Have Kids? Pets? Hobbies?
I am married to my soulmate and my best friend Teri. Celebrating and coming up on 35 years together later this year. We have two grown girls, both out of college and on their own journey. We have a family pet – a Dachshund named Princess who has been in our family for 17 years now.
Aside from music, my biggest passions are food and movies. Favorite food is anything that doesn’t eat me first. We’re huge sci-fi fans in our family – Teri and I, our first date was watching “Return of the Jedi” and we indoctrinated our girls early in the way of the Force. Lol.
Lastly, what is one funny “Secret or Fedish” about your fans and new ones won’t read or find out about?
Well, funny and probably depends on who you are asking. I am a bit OCD and can drive my family crazy. I’m not sure if you remember the TV show “Monk” about a private investigator who was intensely OCD, making him a great detective. I’m not quite that bad, though my kids bought me the DVD set of the show for Christmas one year as an inside joke.
Well, John, you are in good company as I too have OCD and a few other challenges in that department! Lol. I thank you kindly for allowing me to share you and your new CD! I hope readers you have enjoyed this interview and learning all about John Tracy Music. I urge you to take a visit to his amazing official website here at John Tracy Music to take a listen to a few more of his song and you can SHOP and purchase unique CD packages there too!
AND? John is a writer and author as well! Another wee-bit-of info you all didn’t know. Check out his book titled; Of Life, Love, and Famly – John Tracy Wilson.
Now that you know John, please connect with him on Social Media below and tell him “CAT” sent you.
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