This one's a keeper !
When it was first suggested to me that I write a review of Tracy Newman's new CD, "I Just See You", my first thought was to find the exits. Reviews are written by seasoned professionals and appear in the Calendar section of the Times. Then it occurred to me: those folks cannot possibly keep up with the torrent of CDs being released by all the regional artists; sometimes it falls to the fans to pick up the slack. And I am a fan, so here goes.
With this latest release, Tracy has shared with us a number of snapshots taken as she moves through life. The listener will become aware that sometimes the camera is held with the lens pointed backward and that perhaps the events of that song happened to the singer. Who among us can't remember when we felt hemmed in by the memory of someone who isn't around any more.
The title song merits special mention. At a recent concert where Tracy performed this, a fellow audience member described listening to this song as a two hanky experience. One cannot hear this without being reminded that especially as the flower of youth fades, the acceptance of change by ones long time partner may be the most precious gift of all.
There are some excellent examples of Tracy's unique sense of humor. A really stellar example is named simply "Carpool". The title gives no hint of what's to come but this song will ring the chimes of anyone whose memories of their parenting experience includes hours spent doing unpleasant things on behalf of their children.
And also as a part of the parenting experience is the bittersweet moment when you know you can't be there for the kids all the time. You can watch them from a distance, falling, and you just know they are going to be bruised when they hit the ground. "If it were up to me" shows the parent, still loving, anxious to brush off the dirt and knowing they cant there to prevent the hurt next time.
I've left my personal favorite for last. Yes, all the songs in this collection are well written, with inventive turns of phrase, and a melody that seems ideal for that song but for sheer craftsmanship, Table Nine moves to the head of the class. This song is a tribute to Tracy's personal favorite country singer. This guy has been around for awhile, and unlike some of what passes for country singers today, his story was torn from some of the same hardscrabble fabric that made Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. In this account, a young waitress finds herself serving and discovering this singer who finds his way to Table Nine. To reveal any more would be to give it away.
All of the above (plus more, this is too long already) is presented with the able assistance of the Reinforcements: Rebecca Leigh on vocals, Gene Lippmann & John O'Kennedy on guitar, John Cartwright on bass and Doug Knoll on drums. And while there is a little sweetening of the arrangements on the recording, this CD is pretty close what you would get in a live performance.
I encourage all readers to attend one if you get the chance.
My wife and I picked up two of Tracy's CDs at her recent performance in Gilbert, AZ. We love them both, almost as much as hearing and seeing her on stage. Her style is so mellow and understated that her satirical truths will often twist right in under your cognitive/emotive guard. My favorite track on this album 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. 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. Tracy Newman is a lady who knows that the surest way to have a joyous heart and mind is to keep them both open.
Tracy Newman and The Reinforcements - I Just See You Album Review
Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements never cease to amaze and dazzle new and old fans alike. The new Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements album called "I Just See You" is absolutely exceptional! It is filled to the brim of expertly written songs and I guarantee songs you've not heard before, in any genre! This is a stand alone album, in that each track could well be a "single" on its own. There are no duds on "I Just See You". 11 Tracks is a generous album but when the 11 tracks are made up of songs with benchmark orchestration, instrumentation and let's not forget fine vocals and songwriting, how can you lose!
Tracy Newman has a real knack when it comes to looking life square in the face and finding the positives at all times. These lyrics are about life, love and personal experience. In true Tracy Newman style, she has written songs here that sneak up on the unaware. I actually snorted I laughed so hard. And I was totally aware of Miss Newman's songwriting techniques. You will relate to the songs in a personal way. It is absolutely astounding how Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements make it look so easy. Now that's honing your craft to a fine edge; this lady can do it all. Except maybe build a plane. (That's next years project. J/k)
Tracy Newman's strong lyrics marry beautifully with her fabulous vocal style. Acoustic folk and country never sounded so good. The caliber of instrumentation represented on this album is outstanding. And I must say kudos on the mixing, mastering and production on the recording of this "I Just See You" album. They have left Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements in the purest of sound. Excellent work.
The three tracks I have pulled aside for this review are:
1 - Fire Up The Weed
I love this song! It is extremely well written and so funny. Where did all the hip people go from the 70's? This is what happened to them! Tracy Newman sings this ballad with such flare, you could easily think this was a beautiful love song and it is, but with a comedic edge. Between the instrumentation and orchestration and Tracy's vocals, this song is well ahead of its time. Lord, this is brilliant!
2 - Carpool
Many of you will relate to this song about our children hitting the teens with finesse! This song will bring you to tears of laughter! It is beautifully written and vocalized by the gorgeous Tracy Newman. It is a love / Hate song and oh so true. Prepare to giggle. Tracy Newman does what only Tracy Newman can do, no one does it better. She plucks a snapshot from life and brings it to the forefront with style, grace and expertise. LOVE it!
3 - Table 9
This is a gorgeous song about a young girl, an older customer who is a musician and a generation gap.
This has an exceptional story line. One of those "oh!" moments that songwriters hope for throughout their careers. Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements nail this track. Tracy Newman does a stunning job on vocals. The instrumentation is absolutely stellar!
Honorable Mention goes to:
** Nothing Better Than You.
You will love the groove Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements have going on in this song. From Tracy Newman's sexy vocals to great lyrics, this song will grab your attention from the start. The band has outdone themselves with instrumentation and orchestration. This has a real blues feel about it in typical Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements style. Definitely one of my favorites.
To pull just 3 or 4 tracks from this album was a difficult process. I also am completely in love with "I Would Fly", "Already Missing You", I Didn't Think Of You" and "I Just See You". When you hear this album, you will understand my dilemma. You will laugh, you will cry, you will tap along with it and some may even dance. Tracy Newman And The Reinforcements have outdone themselves on this album. This is the album most musicians pray for and listeners hope for. Check it out yourselves my lovelies, grab yours as soon as it is released! Sept 23rd is the "big day".