An international award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist & vocalist influenced by a wide range of musical experiences, Tracy has been described as "a musical force" (Kweevak's Tracks). Her repertoire includes tunes from many artists, eras, and styles plus her originals. Named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Madison Area Music Awards (2008), she is often noted for her fingerstyle guitar work plus strong skills on piano, cello, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer. She was featured in Guitar Player Magazine in 2009 and has been nominated for numerous awards the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs). Her original music has been heard on MTV plus radio and TV stations on four continents. She has opened for notables such as Dar Williams, Willy Porter, The Wailin' Jennys, Holly Near, L.J. Booth, Ellis Paul, Peter Mulvey, and other national acts. She has performed as supporting artist on cello with Holly Brook (now known as Skylar Grey).
See www.tracyjanecomer.com for full details and current performing schedule. Tracy is actively performing as a soloist and also with acts Top Shelf (duo), Common Chord (5-piece Folk/Americana), and Bob's Your Uncle (vocal trio) in and around the Madison, WI area.
See www.tracyjanecomer.com for full info.
See www.tracyjanecomer.com for full info.
Tracy is often compared to guitar mavens Patty Larkin and Emily Saliers, plus others including Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Joni Mitchell, Dar Williams, Tori Amos, James Taylor, Diane Zeigler, Judy Collins, Patty Griffin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
From a review in Rick's Cafe (Madison news publication): ?...Comparisons to other adult contemporary artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Dar Williams are inevitable, though she displays more range of style than any of them..."
Among her influences Tracy names Elton John, Diana Krall, Carole King, Patty Larkin, Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls), Willy Porter, Dar Williams, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Heart, Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Mulvey, Carole King, David Wilcox, Patty Griffin, and many others. From her classical music background, Tracy names Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel as influences, along with the choral and instrumental music of the late Medieval and early Renaissance eras.
Press: THE ONION, Jan. 2006
THE ONION, January 2006:
"Tracy Jane Comer's sparkling acoustic folk is reminiscent of classic balladeers like Joan Baez, complete with lyrics that combines social consciousness with personal issues. But Comer's willingness to expland her sound with such elements as harp, dulcimer, and percussion gives her songs a depth that many folkies lack. MTV recently used a track from Comer's second album, 2004's Quietly There, as soundtrack material for their reality show Made, which should hopefully expland her fanbase beyond the folk-club circuit."
Reviews: Quietly There
SMOTHER.NET EZINE, NOV. 2004
EDITOR'S PICK: Tracy Jane Comer, Quietly There
"Well it?s not going to be 'quietly there' for much longer for Tracy Jane Comer. This singer/songwriter is key to moving the whole darn genre forward. Her sound is mature and soaked with talent throughout this dynamic take of contemporary acoustic rock that?s not afraid to plug things in on occasions. Rather than a brooding self-obsessed nuance of an album that so many of her fellow musicians put out, Quietly There is an upbeat swingin? album that sheds pathos for a brighter side of things. Soon I have no doubt that Wisconsin will be known for more than just cheese and Brett Favre?s Packers - they?ll be known as the lynchpin holding the doors open to soft rock in the singer/songwriter format. Superb."
-J. Sin, Smother.Net E-zine, November 2004
GOGIRLSMUSIC.COM, March 2005
"It?s no surprise that Tracy Jane Comer is a nominee for Best Acoustic Album by the 2005 Madison Area Music Awards. With such an intense talent, this folk singer is destined for great things! Tracy Jane Comer was touched by a beautiful gift of music. Her passion, pure emotion and mellifluous flowing voice blend this work of art for pure pop/folk music. Tracy is not keeping a muted silence in her release, ?Quietly there?; instead she?s pulling all the stops in this toe-tapping delight! She?s creating her own ?herstory? in this CD, so all we can do is sit back, relax and let her overcome us with her talent! "
Hit Picks: "Take Me to the Mountain" and "This Losing Game"
Evolution of Media E-zine, Dec. 2004
??Good lyric writing has become something of a lost art in the mainstream and it's encouraging to see that there are artists who take their craft seriously. Tracy Jane Comer, if her second album Quietly There is any indication, is such an artist. In the tradition of people like Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, Rickie Lee Jones and the Indigo Girls, Tracy Jane Comer writes songs of different shades and colors: a hybrid I've dubbed ?chamber folk? as in her fine cover of the Beatles' ?Eleanor Rigby? and originals ?Take Me To The Mountain? and ?Quietly There?; and a kind of folky jazz that shines through in ?My Own History? and ?Just One Person.? Tracy has a clear, highly emotional voice that brings out the best in her words and gives one a feeling of emotional uplift that epitomizes only the greatest music (the aforementioned women for one set of examples, and unsung singers like Carlene Carter and Christy McWilson for a couple more examples). The lyrical and emotional jackpot on Quietly There is achieved by ?This Losing Game,? as potent an anti-war song as I've heard this year and right up there in the 2004 protest pantheon with Tom Waits and R.E.M. Give Tracy's album a spin, if for nothing other than ?This Losing Game.??
Review: Quietly There
Review by SongsAlive!
What a delight to kick back and listen to these 14 beautifully produced and compelling tracks, that ebb and flow from fast to slow, complimenting the songwriting and voice of Tracy Jane Comer. While each song has it's own breath of life, Tracy Jane's voice is as diverse on each track as the story told. Nominated for "Best Acoustic Album" for 2005 by the Madison Music Awards in Wisconsin, this album really delivers touching melodies, powerful vocals and textured arrangements as well as bare to the bones acoustic style that capitalize on the Tracy Jane's diverse ability to tell a good story with her fresh lyrics. (There are instrumental tracks, "Rondo" and "Moving in the Right Direction," so no lyrics there if you're looking for them!) The title track, "Quietly There", is "so ready for radio" with a dynamic yet emotional vocal and full production to enhance the lyrics that sent chills up my spine. From the rousing start of "My Own History", to the reflective end track of "Drive for Miles", Tracy Jane Comer packs a wallop of sound in between - including a daring cover of the Beatles "Eleanor Rigby" - with strings to highlight the intense social commentary of the words from two of the great songwriters of our time, Lennon and McCartney. But this 3rd cd release from Tracy Jane Comer is all about her talent and songwriting artistry - the ability to tell a story and sing it with conviction and love. "Quietly There" might be the title, but Tracy Jane Comer is due to make some very loud noise once these songs are heard and be "Internationally Here."
Review: Quietly There
Review by MIDWESTBANDS.COM
Musicianship ? 9.5 out of 10
The musicianship on Quietly There is near perfection. Tracy Jane Comer has incredible guitar skills as well as those who accompanied her on this disc. Her acoustic guitar sings as crystal clearly as her voice; if the entire disc was just Tracy on her instrument, it would be well worth listening to. (Rondo) is a prime example of that. She plays a mean cello, too!
Vocally, Tracy cannot be pegged. Her voice is distinct; however, for the sake of the review I will tell you the 3 very different artists that crossed my mind while listening. First, (Yellow Bike, Hello) she has the vocal sound comparable to a young Joni Mitchell (think ?Both Sides Now? and you?ll see what I mean) which gives her vocals a bit of a retro feel at times. Her voice also has the haunting quality (Take Me to the Mountain) similar to Maire Brennan (Clannad?Enya?s sister) and finally she has a more contemporary Sarah McLachlan feel to her music (Baggage, Eleanor Rigby). Now, if that doesn?t confuse you and make you want to hear for yourself, I don?t know what will.
Songwriting - 10 out of 10
Tracy?s biggest talent, however, lies in her incredible songwriting (thus is the only reason for the 9.5 in the Musicianship section!). From complex melodies and lyrics (Pathetic Fallacy) to simpler ?catchy? tunes (My Own History) her versatility is endless. There is a cover of Lennon & McCartney?s ?Eleanor Rigby? right in the middle of all of Tracy?s originals and honestly, her songwriting holds up excellently! Intelligent, interesting and moving are words that come to mind.
Sound Quality/Professionalism - 10 out of 10
There isn?t really too much I need to elaborate on in this section. It is an extremely professionally produced Indie album. Everything sounds balanced and complimentary and the songs are arranged in a very appealing order. Great job.
Packaging ? 9.5++ out of 10
The packaging of Quietly There is well done. A few pictures of Tracy, acknowledgement, credits, and BEST OF ALL: LYRICS! It?s so wonderful to be able to read every word and see as well as hear the incredible songwriting skills of Tracy.
Take Me to the Mountain
Movin? in the Right Direction
*Stand out Track - Rondo
Overall Rating ? 10+ out of 10
Rather high rating, I know. I guess I feel the need to stress the depth and care that went into Quietly There by high numbers, because musical talent is so hard to put into words at times. Tracy Jane Comer?s compositions are poetic, melodic, moving, thought provoking and soothing to the spirit. To me, that means she has achieved great success in creating this wonderful art known as music. She seems to possess all qualities she needs to achieve great success in her chosen profession.
However, you don?t have to just take my word for it. In fact, Quietly There is up for "Best Acoustic Album" in the upcoming Madison (WI) Area Music Awards (to be held March 26, 2005).
Hmmm. Maybe I am not crazy after all!?Jen Lush, Midwestbands.com, 3/22/05
See it on their site:
Reviews: Quietly There
RICK'S CAFE (Madison, WI) - Excerpt
Tracy Jane Comer's Quietly There is a stunning showcase of both her lovely voice and her impressive skill on a variety of instruments. Comparisons to other adult contemporary artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Dar Williams are inevitable, though she displays more range of style than any of them...Given her background in everything from classical to rock, including theater, choral, sacred and folk, the spectrum of genres covered shouldn't be a surprise...This record is a strong statement that seems determined to reach beyond a local audience.
INDIE-MUSIC.COM - Excerpt
This woman never does anything halfway. No one will ever accuse Tracy Jane Comer of holding back. A song may start quietly, and you may think you know where it's going, but then it rises and fills the air with added notes from a cello or sax and wraps itself around you. Even the sad songs lift the spirit because of the magic in the sound...Comer can sound pure and angelic on classical compositions like "Take Me to the Mountain" and "Silent Care"...In tracks like "Just One Person," she is steamy and seductive, a vibe enhanced by the vintage instruments (stand-up bass, tenor sax) weaving old-school jazz around her voice. About halfway through the CD, she suddenly takes a very 60s protest approach and wraps it in those magic chord progressions and the mournful sound of the cello, creating a pointed, emphatic anti-war song called "This Losing Game." At times, she turns off the vocal mic and lets the music capture the listener completely. My personal favorite of the instrumentals is "Movin' in the Right Direction," an ambling, acoustic stroll down a country road. As for the others, "Yellow Bike" is a standout. It's a lovely folk ballad about a childhood of imagination and happiness despite the poverty...Comer can belt out anthems of independence and quietly croon songs of reflection and philosophy. And she puts every musical possibility into those songs...Each song has its own subtle majesty...unforgettable.
KWEEVAK.COM - Excerpt
Tracy is a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist proficient on cello, fiddle, guitar and piano. Comer has been compared to Joni Mitchell, Dar Williams and other well-known talents. The comparisons are well deserved as Tracy is a versatile vocalist who writes compelling, visual songs. Although her music is acoustic based the arrangements go much deeper, culling from classical, folk, jazz, pop and rock. Quietly There features thirteen originals and a poignant cover of The Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby'. Randy Green is responsible for the crisp, clean production allowing each instrument to come through as Tracy's rich vocals flow to the top...Comer's work is diverse and dynamic. Upon each listen more subtle sounds and styles unfold. Comer's music ranges from spirited instrumentals such as 'Movin' in the Right Direction' to beautiful ballads such as 'My Own History' and 'Yellow Bike'...Tracy Jane Comer is a musical force...
SONG REVIEW: This Losing Game, Jan. 2005
International Acoustic Music Awards
Tracy Jane Comer?s song 'This Losing Game' is a thoughtful, well-produced and haunting anti-war song, worthy of the great Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell. Come to think of it, Tracy Jane?s voice is just as powerful and clear as those ladies as well. This is a wonderful work and worthy of a good listen...
Review: Quietly There
REVIEW of QUIETLY THERE in Music Maker Magazine, July/July 2005, Issue No. 85 (UK print publication)
In your mind, take yourself across the pond for a moment and stick the point of your compasses in the town of Madison, Wisconsin. Draw a circle with a radius of 150 miles and you?ll find the stamping ground of Tracy Jane Comer.
Originally from North Carolina, Tracy has established a reputation in the Lake Michigan area, gigging extensively and appearing on local radio and TV broadcasts. Forays outside her home base would it seem have been only occasional.
This may not be the case much longer as this is an excellent second album. I haven?t actually heard the first but "Quietly There" is certainly a musically mature product. The front cover shows a photo of Tracy "A la country diva" like Faith Hill or Chely Wright but one only has to play the first few tracks to be struck by the excellent musicianship and variety of style on offer. She has absorbed influences from across the musical spectrum - folk, country, pop, jazz, classical - she is a graduate of music and the classical influence shows through both in the economy and use of musical structures. Tracy writes her own songs and is not content to use just the standard verse/chorus pattern.
She plays guitar, keyboard, violin and cello (all excellently) and uses her voice as another instrument in the texture, double tracking very effectively in places.
She is ably assisted by her co-writer and producer Randy Green who has not only enhanced the songs by contributions on guitar and keyboard but also produced the album with clarity and just the right balance. The line up is completed by bass and drums which do a good job on underpinning the songs and some unusual touches like the use of a hammer dulcimer.
Tracy?s lyric writing is very clever - she paints with words using light and shade most effectively - the output is, in general, more optimistic than many of the current crop of singer songwriters, although she is equally able to explore the darker and more brooding side of human emotion, while in other places injecting some wry humour.
The opening track "My Own History" is a jazzy number all about setting one?s own agenda - the jazz influence returns later on "Just One Person" which starts off with a clever Bruebeck style five/four intro. "Yellow Bike" is a folky piece of nostalgia about childhood in the seventies when life was much poorer but much simpler. "This Losing Game" is a poignant anti-war song, difficult to say anything original in this genre, yet the view from the personal perspective makes it work. (I love the cello on this!) "Movin? in the Right Direction" and "Rondo" showcase sensitive yet powerful playing of her Taylor guitar. "Pathetic Fallacy" puts me in mind a bit of Dar Williams? "Calling the Moon"; "Drive for Miles" makes clever use of analogy.
The title track is a real belter - a pop ballad with a great hook on the chorus. I could just imagine one those big duets with Elton John or Hal Ketchum on this. Could easily do big things given the right amount of airplay. Tracy wrote or co-wrote all of the material except Eleanor Rigby - this was a good choice to include as it suits the style of the backing musicians on the album.
An excellent musician and writer - it would be good if she could climb aboard a jumbo and visit these shores sometime!
- Dave Taylor, for Music Maker Magazine
Reviews: Second Wind
B-SECTION NEWSLETTER (Madison, WI) - Excerpt
Tracy Comer's new CD Second Wind is an impressive achievement...[She] uses her clear, pure vocals and fine guitar work to good effect on these thirteen tracks of contemporary folk...Throughout the disc, Tracy shows off a deft touch on the guitar and good use of cello, hammered dulcimer and various percussion instruments. Her voice may be the best instrument though, always well-toned and showing a nice melisma that isn't overused...The sound quality is quite good...the vocals and instruments are crisp and clear throughout...Overall Second Wind is an excellent accomplishment...We should all look forward to her next disc and hope it won't be long in coming.
SPLENDID E-ZINE, March 2004 - Excerpt
[Second Wind is] soothing and expertly produced, without a wrong note in the thing...
-Matt Pierce, Splendid E-zine
Review: Live show
8/11/2007 Show Review posted on Wisconsin Bands web site - See http://www.wibands.com/smf/index.php?topic=673.0
Well I've been to see bands/artists in bars...taverns...beer tents...houses...barns...parking lots...but this was the first tour stop in a church. I found the address of "Higher Grounds" just as Animalien pulled next to me...We just looked at each other and laughed. After getting a good seat we listened to Tracy tune and soundcheck...Tracy played this show as a duo with her Sticky Fingers bandmate, Michael Bryant. Tracy really amazed me. What an incredible voice. Singing beautiful accoustic covers & originals, Tracy grabs your attention with her lovely folk vocal style that almost covers up the fact that she is playing so many different instruments. "Yawl" get ready for this list: Tracy not only sings but plays guitar, cello, fiddle, keyboards, and of coarse the always popular hammered dulcimer!! I have to say I've never really seen a hammered dulcimer before and now I WANT ONE!! ** How long does it take to tune a hammer dulcimer? ** Tracy and Michael worked well together and it makes me wonder just how much fun a Sticky Fingers show would be? Both Tracy and Michael told some fun stories between songs but my favorite was the Riverboat Captain story. I guess ya just have to go to a show to hear the cool stories. This was a fun show for me. I love the "band" scene but its nice to see someone go up and let their heart do the talking without all the amps and stuff. Tracy was nice enough to give me her latest CD called Quietly There and she also gave me a Sticky Fingers CD. Tracy has several CDs so stop by one of her shows sometime. She has several Madison area dates so be sure to see her sometime. You can get all her latest dates at: www.tracyjanecomer.com or stop in at MySpace at: www.myspace.com/tracyjanecomer
I'm glad that some of you had heard of Tracy before. Lucky said that "Tracy is North Carolina's gift to Madison" and he is right. We are all lucky to have an artist so talented in our state like TRACY JANE COMER. (insert smiley playing hammer dulcimer)
MIDWEST FOLK: Intro to Interview
MIDWEST FOLK: Intro to Interview/Feature Article
Midwest Folk Magazine, Dec. 2004
"...One thing I really appreciate as an audience member...is when I find out that the performer's words and actions on stage match exactly how they are away from an audience...Tracy Jane Comer grew up in North Carolina and her roots of ingrained respect and hospitality (as well as a hint of accent) come through her conversation and music as well. Her background in music, her computer aptitude, and her positive approach to life have all contributed to an increasingly successful folk music career. Onstage she humbly switches instruments as she sets up the next song with some personal background. Her respect for the audience and unassuming nature indicate how it is she would like to be seen: as a talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who is rightly matched with her competent business sense and who is aptly using her God-given talents fruitfully."
-Terry Corr, Editor