Tracy Newman

My wife and I picked up two of Tracy Newman‘s CDs at her recent appearance at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts. We love them both, almost as much as hearing and seeing her on stage.

My favorite track on I Just See You is “Fire Up the Weed,” a painfully funny account of a relationship between two people with little left in common but heavy substance abuse. My wife’s favorite is “Carpool,” also hilarious, the irritable yet nostalgic musings of a mother coping with a teenaged daughter who’s every bit as difficult as she was herself at that age.

A Place in the Sun also holds numerous treasures, but our clear mutual favorite is “Waffle Boy.”  At the Higley, Tracy said she was inspired to write this one in Nashville, TN.  I won’t say much about the specifics of it for fear of spoiling the story it tells, but I will say I think it’s an especially appropriate song for that city.  Many young musicians go there to pursue what some people would consider much loftier dreams than making waffles in a diner, and to risk what those same people would consider much greater disappointments.  I think it says a lot about Tracy Newman as a human being that although she was one of those young musicians herself, she was still able to find humor and inspiration in an event that could’ve taken place in any city or town in this country.  Her song about that event cultivates our empathy even as it allows us to indulge in schadenfreude.  It’s no mean feat, in more ways than one.

Tracy’s usual style is so gentle, mellow and understated that her satirical truths often twist right in under our cognitive/emotive guards.  Even as she sings about the ways we sometimes insulate ourselves from life and love, she also shows us what she’s learned about fully experiencing both.  She’s a lady who knows that the surest way to have a joyous heart and mind is to keep them both open.

In addition to her website (linked at the beginning of this entry), she may be found on Facebook.

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