CD Review: Tracy Millar – ‘You go Girl’
By Francesco Emmanuel - 03/19/2007 - 01:32 PM EDT
Artist: Tracy Millar
Album: ‘You go Girl’
So, yet again, here’s to a first time reviewing a country/pop album. Over the last two years I’ve done classical, chamber music, jazz, swing, folk, Latin, rock/reggae, instrumental, alternative, children’s music, and now country; so here goes.
First off, I’m not an avid country listener, I like the Eagles and a couple Vince Gill songs, I listen to the occasional Faith Hill and the odd Shania Twain number, but that’s as far as my music library goes in that direction. No particular reason, I did go to a country bar once, but notwithstanding that, on with the review.
I was drawn to her voice ‘From the First Hello’, the opening track on the latest offering from Tracy Millar ‘You go Girl’; it had such a great tone and mid-range depth. The next thing I noticed was the arrangement of the songs – subtle and flawless, with great interplay between the violin and guitar (rather nicely done with some finger picking here and there), and superb vocal harmonies in the chorus.
I particularly liked the use of banjo, violin and dobro in ‘You Already Know’, the pace of that song was as right as rain. The intricate runs made by the banjo and at times the mandolin just made the icing on the cake.
‘I can’t hold the wind’ is a sparsely layered musical ballad that just sticks in your head, although they never played country music at my high-school dance, this would’ve been a hit at that said party, back in ’88. I especially liked the key change at the last chorus, followed by some great slide lines on the dobro.
‘You know who’ is a lovely duet with Duane Steele, it really stands out against all the other upbeat songs listed on the record.
Most songs are short, averaging around three odd minutes or so, but within those minutes, a story is told and great music is woven. There isn’t a single weak spot on any song. The layering of the string instruments, be it banjo, dobro, acoustic or electric guitar, steel guitar and violin is something that has me in awe.
At no point is there difficulty in trying to determine the direction of the song, or the focus of the arrangements. It’s all clear and precise. What I can’t determine is, has this sort of technique in composing and arranging come about from years of playing country music, or is this some un-spoken rule of thumb, something that only great country singers and musicians know and learn.
The album was well recorded, mixed and mastered. Recording and mixing took place at Derek’s Barracks and Louis Sedmark Productions respectively, both in Alberta with Metalworks Studio in Mississauga completed the mastering process.
Tracy grew up in Hines Creek, Alberta listening to Charley Pride and Ricky Skaggs, she began singing at age three, and taught herself guitar at age nine! She learned clarinet and piano in school, and later on she picked up bass guitar and mandolin. Tracy started songwriting in her teens, but went ahead and obtained her diploma in nursing and moved to Edmonton.
She took a leap of faith a few years ago by giving up her nursing vocation to pursue her life’s love – music. In a short space of time Tracy made substantial progress in the country music scene. To date she’s played at festivals such as: Big Valley Jamboree, Spilchen’s Country Fever, Carlton Trail Jamboree, the Magnificent River Rats Festival and Edmonton’s annual Klondike days.
In April 2005, Tracy signed a radio promotions deal with Comstock Records to promote her album to Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 2006 was the fourth time Tracy was invited to perform at the annual Global Country Festival of Stars at Winspear Centre, Edmonton. She also performed a showcase at Country Music Week - Calgary, September 2003 and the Juno’s – Edmonton, April 2004.
So far, it seems Tracy made the right choice by leaving nursing behind. So here’s to a country girl at heart, one who got me to listen to an entire country record, at least 6 times now. I think Tracy said it best with the title of her record, ‘you go girl!’
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