What specific life events lead you to become a musician?
My older brother had a serious record collection and a really expensive stereo system when we were kids. Sitting in your room cranking Zeppelin and AC/DC for hours just gets under your skin. I couldn’t wait to get a guitar.
How have these life experiences molded your overall sound?
Learning to play before the dreaded video came and killed the radio star, I learned to really listen to songs and get lost in them for nothing more that the sound. I still try to write that way. I try to tell stories and move people. In the end, I listen to playbacks and ask if I believe it. If the answer is yes we move on. If it’s no we hit delete and record again. I hate recording 17 versions of a song and than going back and choosing the right one later. Or worse, cutting and pasting a song together.
If I Ever Get Away is your new album. What does this album possess that separates it from your other musical endeavors?
I really hit my stride with this record in terms of writing to the strengths of my voice. I am way more Johnny Cash than Freddie Mercury vocally. I think I have finally learned to exploit that strength.
What’s the craziest time that you’ve had at a performance?
I was doing a gig playing bass for Vernon Reid’s (Living Colour) solo thing; He explained to the audience that guitar was really simple. His explanation of his right hand technique consisted of saying “pick” for literally two minutes straight, followed by saying “pull off” just once. He than said “pick” for a few more minutes. It was really surreal and uncomfortable for everyone there. I loved it.
In a related vein, who would your dream jam session include?
I would like to sit in for Geezer Butler in Black Sabbath, as long as Bill Ward was on drums. I’d also like to sit on a porch with McCartney and just pass a bass and guitar back and forth. Considering he’s left handed, I should say take turns playing bass and guitar.
Do you feel as if there is an album-wide cohesion to the tracks on If I Ever Get Away?
It’s not a concept album where I sat down and tried to write a continuous piece. But I do feel like the album has a flow and an overall vibe that is very cohesive. I usually start thinking about the flow of the album about 4 tracks into the writing process. I am still all about making albums and not just writing singles. Albums can be life changing, singles don’t really have that power.
Does the overall context of a Redeemed or Songs For You change when a listener listens to it separately?
I think those are two of the strongest songs on the album, so they really stand on their own. But in the end it’s the listeners choice. If they want to make a connection, than they should. Music is not math, there is no absolute answer. I honestly try not to explain what my songs mean to me, because it may conflict with the connection the listener finds in the song. We all bring different life experiences with us when we listen to songs. I think the best songs are the ones that leave some things open to interpretation.
What does Rich Hinman, Walton’s bandmate, bring to the table?
Rich is one of my favorite guitar players, so it’s really nice to have him on the album. His nickname is Richy Right Note, because he voice leads so well that he really never plays a bad note. He works with Roseanne Cash, Ben Kweller, and Rhett Miller to name a few, so he gets what it means to be a pro. It’s also nice that he plays, guitar, mandolin, and pedal steel. It makes over dubbing a lot of fun.
Where will your 2013 tour dates take you? How can listeners get ahold of you?
I will be playing a bunch of concert series and outdoor gigs in the North East this summer. I’m doing Musikfest 2013 in PA this year. I’ll also be doing an East Coast tour this fall from New England to Florida and back. You can keep up with me at www.tracywaltonmusic.com You can find tour dates, links to the album and my social media shenanigans.
What are your final thoughts for NeuFutur Magazine / neufutur.com ?
I have been doing more and more house concerts lately. I really love the intimate vibe and the connection I make with people at these. It’s funny, but I would rather play for 30 people in a living room, where every person gets lost in the songs, than to play is a much bigger room and not have that connection. If you’re reading this and are interested, please contact me at my website. It’s become a great way for me to fill dates on a tour.
Tracy Walton Interview