Tue 3/6 @ 7PM
Since the turn of the century, Tracy Marie has enjoyed a chameleon existence beginning with a Heart cover band and her own hard rock act Glue. The singer-guitarist also performed with legends. There was a gig in New York City with jazz legend Stanley Jordan and also a performance in New Jersey with Buddy Miles.
Locally, the singer-songwriter was nominated for the 2008 Rock Hall Riot Girl Award, and has been recognized by independent music magazines. Having released four studio albums over the years, Marie decided to come out of her comfort zone for her upcoming fifth studio effort Beautiful Mess.
The veteran Cleveland artist made the difficult decision to put let someone else produce the entire album. The good news is that person is her friend, the Emmy and Grammy-Award nominated David Mayfield.
“I put this project in the hands of David, who is a bluegrass musician and performer out of Akron,” Marie said. “He also produces. While he leans more towards the country end of the things, I’m all across the board genre-wise. And he had played on my 2003 album The One in the Sun. So this time I gave him total creative freedom.”
That freedom included Mayfield perusing Marie’s working catalog of more than 100 songs. Eventually the list was pared down to 11 tracks. The producer then brought in a team of musicians to bring his vision of the material to fruition.
“I was afraid that if I was there I would kind of get my creative hands micromanaging him,” Marie said. “I wanted him to do his thing. I’m excited because this is the first time that I really allowed a team to work the record.
“It wasn’t just me wearing all of the hats. I just kind of gave people their job. Really to bring a record together and to make it great, you need a team of people that are more talented than you.”
Such a comment makes Marie sound wise beyond her years. In fact, she’ll be the first to admit reaching such a realization came after she completed the Tri-C Recording Program and worked with other artists.
“I think a lot of times when you’re an independent artist you get in your own way,” Marie said. “I went from being just a singer-songwriter to being a recording artist to a recording engineer. At Tri-C, I kind of saw the other side of the coin.
“I thought, these artists are so great, but they’re getting in their own way. And then I kind of had to look in the mirror and say, ‘I do that.’ So I needed to put these other people in the driver’s seat; The people that know more about that job than I do.”
The result is Beautiful Mess — Marie said the title belies the end product. Not only does the album seemingly tie perfectly into all of her other releases, but the singer said the polished project possesses her eclectic nature.
There’s blues, country, rock, southern rock and even alternative sounds heard on Beautiful Mess. Her favorites include the country-blue ballad “Lonesome Fourth of July,” southern-sounding “Hungover and Heartbroken,” the Brazilian-tinged “Knowing When” and fun country song “Marry Me Willie.”
Now Marie is planning for the Beautiful Mess CD release show scheduled for Tue 3/ 6 at the Music Box Supper Club.
“I’m just excited about the CD release party,” Marie said. “It’s kind of like my big day.”
The fact is Marie has an enzyme deficiency that has resulted in numerous hip replacements and other ailments. While she’s spent decades with health issues, her music has been her saving grace with Beautiful Mess being yet another crowning achievement.
“I’m doing a few gigs here and there around Cleveland, but at the moment there’s no plans for a tour,” Marie said. “I’m just not in good enough shape physically. I’m on a cane, and I go to the hospital a few times a week right now.
“I’m hoping Cleveland becomes the next Vegas, where everybody wants to have a show here. Then I can just stay home.”
Perhaps Marie will be the one who starts this trend.
“Alright, let’s do it,” she laughed.