THE REAL DEAL SHE TELLS THE TRUTH
“Tracie Lynn is THE REAL DEAL”
-Reid Slaugher, Publisher, Cowboy’s & Indians Magazine
“In her voice and in her songs, Tracie accomplishes something few singer/songwriters ever do – she tells the truth, and isn’t afraid to show her range of emotions.”
-Ray Methvin, Palmer Place, Nashville, TN
GREAT VOICE, EXCELLENT SONGWRITING TEXAS’ BEST KEPT SECRETS
“Great voice, excellent songwriting with a song style that is incredibly relatable. Tracie Lynn has something worth hearing.”-Keith Montgomery, Program Director, KJ97FM-San Antonio, TX
“Tracie Lynn is one of Texas’ best kept secrets but she won’t be for long after the release of her latest CD, Girl Talk produced by the legendary Texas musician, Lloyd Maines!”
-David Besonen, KNON 89.3 FM, Dallas, TX
It didn’t make any difference how Zane Williams went about writing a song, it just came out country. You might say Zane didn’t so much find country as country found him.
And that suits him just fine.
“Everything I wrote just sounded country because I was telling stories that I could relate to; that other people relate to,” he said. “I believe that’s what makes a great country song.”
You don’t have to listen to Zane’s music long to recognize he reaches deep within his soul to pour out songs like, “Pablo and Maria.” But if you listen to his, “99 Bottles,” you also know Zane likes everybody to kick up their heels and have a good time on a Friday night.
“When I moved back to Texas I knew I was going to be playing honky-tonks so I figured I needed a good beer-drinking song,” he said. “The only beer-drinking song I knew when I was growing up was ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,’ so this is my take on it.”
Zane nearly gave up songwriting the year before producing “99 Bottles.” He had moved to Nashville shortly after graduating from college and started chasing his dream to be a singer/songwriter. Nine years later, Zane was still cranking out songs, including Jason Michael Carroll’s 2010 top 15 hit, “Hurry Home.” He had other songs – award-winning songs – recognized for their craftsmanship and thoughtful ideas, but he was only scratching out a living. Time to move on, he finally decided, but then he got a second unexpected boost…
…from the real estate industry.
He enrolled in a seminar to learn how to make money through revitalizing entire neighborhoods then selling the houses. Helping people and providing a better life for his family; it sounded like something about which he could get passionate. On the conference’s final day, the presenters spoke about work that aligned with your passion. It reminded Zane of a song; one of his songs.
“I said, ‘Hey you guys want to hear a song I wrote about chasing your dreams and the difference between who you are now and who you want to be?’ I got out my guitar and sang this song for this group of 30 or 40 people, and when I got done they were like, ‘Why are you here? If you can write and sing like that, you need to go do that!'”
So he did. Zane packed his family’s belongings and moved back to Texas. The real estate conference rekindled the dream into a blaze, and he wasn’t going to doubt again. The move proved to be the best career decision to date, mostly because the simplicity of life found around family, close friends and hunting and fishing connects Zane with “what’s real in life.”
“It was wonderful to be back close to our families,” he said. “My first gig was at an open mic night, and I met a local DJ there who started playing my music that very week. I started making fans right away, and there was so much appreciation for my style of music down here in Texas, almost reverence. For the first time in my life, I started to feel the momentum building.”
The momentum has certainly picked-up. Zane has received consistent radio airplay on country stations across Texas that led to his first entry on the Texas Music Chart with “Ride With Me,” from the 2011 album with the same title. Zane is also one of the featured artists on Troubadour Texas, a television show documenting his rising career.
“I can honestly say I’m doing what I love,” Zane said. “And I’m where I need to be.
Thirteen years can put a hell of a lot of wear and tear on even the hardiest of rock ’n’ roll bands. But don’t be fooled by all those hundreds of thousands of miles on Micky & the Motorcars’ odometer: pop the hood of Hearts From Above, the long-running Austin band’s seventh album, and you’ll find a brand-new engine, fine-tuned and good to run for at least as many more miles still ahead. And behind the wheel? Two brothers and founding members Micky Braun (lead vocals and guitar) and Gary Braun (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals) invigorated and supercharged by a transfusion of new blood from fresh recruits Dustin Schaefer (lead guitar), Joe Fladger (bass), and Bobby Paugh (drums). Micky and Gary, who by their own admission, haven’t been this fired up about playing together since they first rode south from the Whitecloud Mountains of Idaho to stake their claim to the Texas and wider Americana music scenes.
Neil Austin Imber is one of the most thoughtful, prolific songwriters of his time. Never sacrificing himself and the stories he tells for the sake of a hit. Writing songs from the depths of his soul and showing exactly the man he is in his songs as he does in person. Providing a one on one conversation with Neil himself with every song – Sean M. Ogburn, Circle O Productions LLC
Neil Austin Imber is one of the most exciting new artists on the Texas Music
Scene. Neil is a young man exuding wisdom far beyond his years, writing
songs with an insight and maturity that some artists never attain. From the
title track to the radio friendly, It’s Been A Few Years, to Full Blooded
Texan, Neil Austin Imber takes the listener on a roller coaster ride of insight
and emotion with stories of life, love and lost opportunity.- Chris Harkness, M55 Productions
Craig Vance says, ” Once you hear that unmistakeable perfect voice come floating to you on wings you will be an N A I junkie the rest of your days – no looking back!!”
Carla Leigh of KBHT in Grapeland, Texas, commented Imber had, “the look, the
voice, and the songs. He has it all”.
“He’s got one of the truest voices I’ve ever heard. His pitch is next to
perfect, and he’s just got charisma. That is what it takes. In my opinion,
that’s what made George Strait – his charisma. And I feel like Neil has that
charisma”, said Don Westmoreland, 57 year music industry veteran,
producer/engineer, and owner of Limelight Recording Studio.
Sundy Best crafts music that re-imagines timeless classic rock of the ‘70s and ‘80s –
think the Eagles and the smart, whiskey-voiced lyrics of Tom Petty and Bob Seger. With
Nick on guitar and Kris on cajon, Sundy Best takes that sound, modernizes it in their
own unique way by borrowing hints of country and bluegrass, to make it personal.
Offstage, the pair are lifelong friends, college athletes and dog-lovers; onstage the
musical duo delivers something wholly fresh and original, blending their best influences
with personal music histories.
“We set out to do this,” says Kris. “We write our songs, play and sing; it’s what we’ve
done, it’s what we’ll do. We want to create something that will stand the test of time, like
Seger or the Eagles. We don’t really have a standard genre. If people want to call us
country, let them. But with Bring Up the Sun, you’ll get a really good sense of what
we’re doing in our style of country music, and it’s got ‘70s classic rock sounds, with a
little pop, rock, and bluegrass.”
Sundy Best began as a high energy Lexington, Kentucky bar act. As kids coming up
together in Eastern Kentucky, they played music in church and formed their own band in
“Growing up, my earliest memories are of my dad playing and singing, and listening to
records with him,” says Kris. He played drums along with Dad, and the cajon remains
his instrument – part of what gives Sundy Best its distinctive sound. All songs on Bring
Up The Sun were recorded using cajon, no drums or cymbals.
Nick recalls his mom playing piano. By first grade, he took piano lessons too, though
practicing wasn’t his thing. “I remember my whole family played bluegrass at the
holidays. I was shy growing up; I didn’t try to sing much.” Eventually, guitar became his
Both athletes, Nick headed to Pikeville College for football, while Kris played basketball
at Centre College in Danville.
English major Kris read Twain and Melville when not on the basketball court; Nick
started strumming guitar in bars. When his favorite football coach, a fellow musician, left
the school, he gave Nick a parting gift – a real passion for live music.
“He introduced me to the bar and pool hall scene in Johnson City. The musicians I met
inspired me, I found myself writing music. My life took a new direction.”
“The Statesboro Revue is in the process of re-defining rock and roll, refusing to let blues and country, the real roots of rock music, fall by the wayside. Stewart and the Statesboro Revue are trying to remind America what rock music is really all about: soul. Mann’s voice, songs, and band have that in spades.” Andy Hertsch, Vail Daily News
Rob Baird will be the first one to tell you that he hasn’t always been 100%, shall we say, forthright as a songwriter. Back in college (not too terribly long ago), he recorded an album that he has since “completely buried” — primarily, he says, because back then, “I just wasn’t writing about anything that really meant anything to me.” His next album, 2010’s Blue Eyed Angels (which he considers his proper debut), was a fair deal closer to his heart, but even then he was still an artist in search of himself. Songs like “Could Have Been My Baby,” “Blue Eyed Angels” and especially “Fade Away” all demonstrated that he was ultra-confident in the hooks department and talented enough to sound like he knew what he was doing, but Baird himself was still not entirely convinced.
By striking contrast, one listen to his new album, the aptly titled I Swear It’s the Truth, and it’s clear that Baird has not only found his sincere artistic identity, but grabbed his sense of purpose by the wheel and pushed pedal to the metal. “I’m moving like the wind through the trees, like a train on a track, there ain’t no stopping me,” he declares on the opening “Dreams and Gasoline. “Let the wheels spin free.”
Three years of touring successfully can have an effect on one’s confidence, as does the benefit of just having a little more time to mature. Baird, now 25, wrote and recorded Blue Eyed Angels when he was only 21, at the end of his senior year at Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University. Baird stayed in Texas after graduation (relocating to Austin) and began carving out his own niche. But even as Blue Eyed Angels found traction on regional radio on the strength of his steady touring and solid singles like “Could Have Been My Baby” and “Fade Away,” Baird formulated his own style, cut with guitars both jangly and crunchy and crisscrossed by rivers of pedal steel and tasteful organ, that
quickly set him apart from rest of the Texas crowd.
Since then, Baird has drawn favorable comparisons to artists from the wider Americana landscape like Ryan Adams, Chris Knight, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty.
Scott Davis, long-time Hayes Carll band member, produced both Blue Eyed Angels and I Swear It’s the Truth. “I met Scott through my first manager, and he started taking me under his wing,” Baird says. “Scott was a pretty big influence as far as going, ‘You can be two kinds of people: You can be a party band, or you can try to be an artist.’” Baird picked the latter.
Last March — three years after making Blue Eyed Angels but less than a year after the album’s release — Baird and Davis began work on I Swear It’s the Truth at Austin’s Cedar Creek Recording studio. They had to work around both Baird’s and Carll’s touring schedules, though, which allowed Baird plenty of time to fine tune his latest batch of songs and Davis time to assemble the perfect team. In addition to Baird (guitar) and Davis (guitar, banjo, piano, and organ), the album features guitarist Keith Gattis; Carll’s rhythm section of drummer Kenny Smith and bassist Cody Foote; pedal steel and dobro players Ricky Ray Jackson and Ben Kitterman; and background vocal support from Kelly Mickwee of the Trishas and Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist of the Band of Heathens. Near the end of the sessions in January, guitarist Woodrow Morgan and drummer Nate Coon from Baird’s road band came in to play on one of the pedal-steel laced “Same Damn Thing.”
“That’s actually my favorite song on the record, I think,” says Baird of “Same Damn Thing,” one of several he collaborated on with co-writer Rick Brantley. “It describes pretty much how you feel every time you play, no matter if it’s a good show or a bad show. By the time that you’re walking out of the bar at 3 in the morning, you’re like, ‘Dude … everything’s good, but what an interesting life this is.’”
Baird and Brantley also co-wrote “Dreams and Gasoline” (another slice of life on the road) and the album’s emotionally gripping centerpiece, “Redemption.” “He’s really into desperation, the small town kind of stuff, and I am, too, so we complemented each other on that,” Baird says. “‘Redemption’ has a real kind of loneliness thing going on; it seems like a lot of these songs have that theme.”
In addition to Brantley, Baird also co-wrote songs with fellow Texas-based artists Ryan Beaver (“Along the Way,” “More Than Willing”) and Drew Kennedy (“Don’t Cry for Me”), as well as one with East Nashville’s Andrew Combs (the trenchant “Black and Blue”). Baird wrote the decidedly more optimistic-leaning (but still lonely!) “Can’t Stop Running” solo, and the album is rounded out by three outside contributions: Combs’ “Please Please”; “40 Days and 40 Nights,” by Brantley, Mark Shelby, and Tia Sellers; and “I Can’t Get Over You,” by Americana mainstay Buddy Miller. The miller song was a longtime favorite of Baird’s that he turned to during a trying time in a relationship, which made it the perfect coda for I Swear It’s the Truth, an album that rings emotionally true from beginning to end.
“I just think it’s a really honest record, and it’s kind of the only record that I knew how to make at this point,” says Baird. “‘I’ll swear it’s the truth’ is how I feel about all of these songs. I’ve definitely felt this way in the past three or four years, and I feel like this is a pretty strong collection of songs representing where I am now and what I’m trying to do, whether it’s for better or worse.
“I’ve really spent a lot of time trying to perfect my writing, or at least trying to figure out who I am and convey that better in my songs, and trying to perfect the live show, because I want to be around for awhile,” he continues. “I just want longevity. If it takes a long time to figure out how to get enough fans to be able to tour the country and stay out there, then that’s fine. Because if it’s just going to be a flash-in-the-pan kind of deal, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth doing.”
By facing his losses and demons on the page, McKinney is able to write relatable music. His passion and energy is a perfect foil for his down-to-earth songs: it is hard to imagine anyone listening to “June 7th,” about his divorce, without getting a lump in their throat. The song starts, “It was the 7th of the sixth month when my world stopped spinning/ When you said that you don’t love me anymore/ We swore that we would hold on, so I didn’t see it coming/ And I guess I really still don’t understand,” and his hurt is palpable. By being so specific with his lyrics, McKinney opens his heart up to the audience while still writing a song everyone who has ever loved and lost can identify with.
Likewise, more laid-back songs like “Middle of Nowhere” are about growing up in the Midwest, and would fit in on any contemporary radio station—“Born on the Westside of a Midwest town/ Indiana boy without a doubt/ Raised on the banks of the Ohio/ skippin’ rocks to see how far they’d go” evokes more than just his own memories, these are the shared childhoods of Midwesterners.
He also talks about touring and the blessing and curse that music can be in “Strangers, Stages, and Cheap Hotels,” with lyrics “ I fell for the one mistress who don’t share/ she gives me strangers, stages and cheap hotels” and writes about new beginnings on songs like “Better the Second Time,” with lyrics like, “Every now and then you get a second chance/ Someone comes along that makes you want to live again,” which make it obvious that McKinney is taking the pain of the path of all he’s learned in his life and moving forward. He is ready to leave his permanent mark on the music industry.