Michael Tracy’s May 10 show at The Grey Eagle benefits Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project aims “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” According to the project’s website, it’s purpose is “To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.”
Singer-songwriter Michael Tracy, a Navy veteran, is donating some of the proceeds from his concerts to that charity, including $2 from each ticket sold from Tracy’s Saturday, May 10 show at The Grey Eagle. That evening of music also includes Lefty Williams and Andy Buckner, and Southern Soul Campaign.
The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. $10 advance / $13 day of show.
About the musicians, from The Grey Eagle website:
“Singer-songwriter Tracy takes his cues from abundant influences: Rock ’n’ roll, blues, ’70s hard rock, country, Southern rock, even grunge are bundled together, fed into his personal psyche, reorganized with his perception, message and experience to be delivered with his own unique sound and scope. All this goes into the depth and poetic passion delivered by the Michael Tracy Band.” – Rock Hill Herald
Michael is a singer/songwriter who has been building buzz in Charlotte, NC as a passionate & soulful Americana Rock artist; combining powerful, memorable riffs with thoughtful, poetic, and at times haunting lyrics. He caught the eyes and ears of Grammy award winning, veteran producer/engineer Bruce Irvine during the summer of 2011. Michael went to work and with Bruce’s skillful touch on final engineering released his debut 12-track album “Enough Small Talk” in November of 2011. Michael is now putting on finishing touches before rolling out his follow up CD, “Ain’t Dead Yet”, scheduled for Spring 2014 release.
Michael’s band with Boo English -Lead Guitar; Roey Haviv – Bass; & Loren Bates- Drum has quickly become one known throughout the region for their driving, lively, & passionate shows.
Michael is a thoughtful lyricist; using poetic words atop his own brand of Americana Rock. Michael appears determined to go as far as his music will take him.
“Success does not come in half-measures and hesitation, this is a tough business. I try to never lose sight of the fact that in the end its all about the songs. They either will or will not carry me forward.” - Michael Tracy
A skilled guitarist with over two decades of experience, Lefty Williams holds songcraft and musicianship at a premium. By emphasizing each equally on his ironically titled sophomore album Snake Oil, he engages and enlightens the listener. In turn, we fall for Williams’ powerful guitar licks and candid songs, often long before the origin of his nickname—he was born without a right hand—is clear. And by then, it’s just another dimension to his talent.“I definitely don’t wanna shy away from my arm,” says the Atlanta born-and-bred songwriter/musician, who’s been playing guitar since age 4. He started out strumming with the end of his “nubb,” and fashioned his first prosthetic pick at 6. “I was just using the skin on my arm—the same way a fingerstyle player would use his thumb. Then I wanted to play faster.” On his grandfather’s hunch, Lefty approached his prosthetician who devised a sock-like leather wrap. “It didn’t work at all,” he laughs, saying he finally “tore apart my prosthetic arm,” using the strap and part of the harness to fashion something that worked.
Henceforth a self-taught musician, Lefty refined his skills by listening. “After my dad taught me basic chords, he showed me how to figure it out on my own. I remember we were listening to the guitar solo part of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and my dad pointing out all the guitar parts that were going on in the background and saying, ‘That’s the kinda stuff you gotta listen for. If you can figure all those out and how to play ‘em at the same time, you can make it sound like the record.’”
Soon Lefty was transcribing songs by Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin and Yes before moving on to more difficult material. By 11, he was playing in bands. “Death metal!” he laughs. While playing upright bass in the school orchestra he learned how to read music, and in 1998 he made his way to the Atlanta Institute of Music to hone his guitar skills. There he found that his condition put him on equal—if not higher—footing than his peers and instructors at the Atlanta Institute of Music, who envied his “perfect” picking technique. “A lot of guitar players change between moving their wrists and their elbow and their fingers,” he says. “Mine never really changes.”
After graduating with honors, Lefty was offered a teaching position at AIM. During that time, he gravitated from metal to grunge bands learning valuable lessons from each. “I can shred if I want to,” he says, “but I get really bored with that. The one thing I took from grunge music was not soloing, just taking your time and making your songs as good as you can possibly make them.”
This knowledge served him well as he grew into the bluesy, jazzy style he plays today, which nods to Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughn and early Led Zeppelin—all artists that understand the importance of a great song. Lefty also heeded their performances, and worked to construct a combustible live show with the Lefty Williams Band, which quickly became a big draw at local and regional clubs like Smith’s Olde Bar (Atlanta), Murphy’s (Boone, North Carolina) and The Dunedin Brewery (Dunedin, Florida). The LWB has also opened for the likes of Gov’t Mule, Tim Reynolds, Little Feat, Jimbo Mathus, Col. Bruce and the Quark Alliance and the Chris Duarte Group.
In 2006, Lefty recorded his debut album, Big Plans, produced by John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic). It brought a dynamic range of music to the table, from high energy like “Shine Begins to Fade” to soulful tracks like “Sunny,” in which Lefty’s innate sense of groove and melody, coupled with an expressive, visceral guitar sound, coalesce. Big Plans received raves from Relix, Hittin’ the Note, and Jambase.com, and Williams toured for 18 months behind it, all the while writing like a fiend. By the end of 2007, he got the itch to return to the studio.
Once again teaming with Keane, who says “Lefty’s sound is a compelling combination of honest, heartfelt lyrics and masterful rhythm and blues muscle,” Lefty reaches deep into personal experience on Snake Oil. “There’s a lot more honesty in these songs,” Lefty says. The dirty, groovin’ title track refers to two-faced industry types, specifically “a guy who promised me the world and then kinda hosed me.” His divorce fuels the funky “Thank You,” where he acknowledges the silver lining, and thanks his ex for kicking him out. “We’re both better off now.” And the sweet, tender “A Little Bit of Faith” (featured on the Relix CD sampler for June 2008) is written for “my current wife. It’s just a promise to her that I’m not gonna goof around on her.”
Musically, Lefty soars on Snake Oil, ratcheting up the earthy yet sophisticated sound of Big Plans. He achieves a coolly smoldering burn—merging King’s world with Davis’s—with “On the Prowl;” suffers through his slide guitar on the gospel-tinged “In the Valley;” channels playful lust on the jumpin’ “Hey Mama;” and creates a taut, stinging three-minute guitar feast with “Salt Stained Moment.” The LWB’s taut grooves are augmented by two guests: Todd Smallie (The Derek Trucks Band) plays bass on “Why Didn’t You Call,” and “On the Prowl” and “Hey Mama” feature blues luminary and fellow Atlanta resident Tinsley Ellis.
Says Ellis, “I was knocked out by Lefty the first time I heard his music on MySpace. I just knew that I had to seek him out and hear more of his stuff. He is a veritable triple threat on certainly guitar but also as a soulful vocalist and clever songwriter. The fact that he is out there winning over fans one at a time with his nonstop touring schedule is definitely something that I can relate to. I was thrilled when he asked me to guest on his new album.”
Having already given many of the songs on Snake Oil a live test drive, Lefty looks forward to presenting them fully realized on another lengthy tour in 2008. Mostly, though, he’s chomping at the bit to play live, electrifying audiences with his musical virtuosity and heartworn songs. “Let’s just make some cool music,” he says. “That’s all I’ve ever really cared about.”
ANDY BUCKNER & THE SOUTHERN SOUL CAMPAIGN
If an artist is described as playing Southern music it’s fair to ask what kind. Southern Rock? Outlaw County? Rock and Roll, Blues, Bluegrass? In the case of Andy Buckner, the answer is “all of the above” in one talented musical package.
Buckner absorbed his influences honestly. Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, he’s from a long line of musicians and started singing in church at age 4. He knew he wanted to be a performing musician after seeing David Holt play with Buckner’s first cousin Josh Goforth, and became obsessed with trying out every instrument he could find. By the age of 16 he was a multi-instrumentalist playing bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and more. During this time he discovered his calling as a songwriter, while maintaining a busy schedule competing at festivals, touring and performing with many established artists and bands.
After graduating from high school he attended East Tennessee State University while establishing an identity as a solo artist. While there, he became the first freshman since Kenny Chesney to earn a spot in the prestigious ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band. Andy has already shared the staged with Folk, Bluegrass, Country, and Southern Rock greats like: Doc Watson, David Holt, the Kruger Brothers, Wayne Henderson, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Bobby Hicks, Bobby Ozbourne, Larry Sparks, the Boxcars, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, the Zac Brown Band, Josh Gracin, Connor Christian & Southern Gothic, Shooter Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blackberry Smoke to name a few!
Grammy winner and Mountain Heart member Jim VanCleve characterizes Andy Buckner as “truly the next generation of country music personified, in my opinion. He’s writing his own material, and he’s playing his own instruments… and excelling at both. He has what it takes to become a household name in country music.” Today, Andy Buckner has embraced his roots by fully embracing the genre. His style mainly consists of Southern Rock, Outlaw Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, and Bluegrass. “Just good Southern Music” Andy states. “I want my music to be heard all over the world. Mainly I want people to listen to the words that I write and be able to relate their lives and the things that they go through. If I could be known for anything it would be that my music inspired, touched, and healed the hearts and minds of many people all across the world.”