An international award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Tracy Jane Comer has been described as "a musical force" (Kweevak’s Tracks). Her multi-flavored original music has been heard on MTV and on hundreds of radio and TV stations on four continents. She has opened or shared shows with notables such as Dar Williams, Willy Porter, The Wailin' Jennys, Holly Near, L.J. Booth, Ellis Paul, Peter Mulvey, Nathan Rogers, Joe Jencks, and other national acts. She has also performed as supporting artist on cello with Holly Brook, now known as Grammy-nominated artist Skylar Grey. The MTV show Made has featured her music on several episodes, and she has received radio airplay around the world.
A versatile and skilled performer, Tracy's clear voice is often compared to that of classic troubadours Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez. She is very often noted for her intricate fingerstyle guitar work plus impressive skills on piano, cello, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer. Her guitar skills earned her a spot in GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE (June 2009) and also the title of INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR by the Madison Area Music Awards (2008). She was tapped to perform at the MAMAs ceremony in 2006, a performance reviewed as the standout of the evening by by the Wisconsin State Journal.
Also a versatile songwriter influenced by a wide range of musical experiences, Tracy has received international songwriting awards and honors in rock/pop, adult contemporary, and folk/acoustic genres. She has been nominated numerous times by the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs) in various categories including BEST ACOUSTIC ARTIST (2004, 2005), BEST ACOUSTIC ALBUM (2004, 2005), FOLK/AMERICANA ARTIST OF THE YEAR (2007), JAZZ SONG OF THE YEAR (2011), JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR (2011), and FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUM OF THE YEAR (2011).
Originally from the south but now based in Madison, WI, Tracy has been called "North Carolina's gift to Wisconsin." She studied music at various institutions in North Carolina and Wisconsin at undergraduate and graduate levels, and first began performing her original music in the late 1990s. Currently she performs mainly in the midwest with occasional tours in her native state of NC.
Performance Presentation: Tracy usually performs her original music as a soloist or often with supporting musicians. On occasion she performs with added bass or full band. Tracy is also co-director of collaborative Americana/folk project Common Chord (with Michael Bryant et al.) and band leader for Briana Patrice Trio, and was formerly part of Wild Heart, Acoustic Alloy, Cornerstone, and more. See the STAGE PROJECTS section (click tab above).
"This singer/songwriter is key to moving the whole darn genre forward. Her sound is mature and soaked with talent throughout…"
- Smother.Net Ezine
Tracy's Original Music
Tracy Jane Comer's songwriting offers up a burst of diverse flavors, woven together seamlessly. She eschews genre pigeon-holing and writes music that defies categorization.
Comer's focus on exploring many facets of human emotion has much to do with the rich textures of her acoustic music. "I connect deeply with music and enjoy experiencing a wide range of emotions through it – elation, joy, pain, loneliness, sadness, angst, longing, love, empathy and more," Comer says.
Comer is drawn to forms of musical expression that are distinctive and original. It's what she likes to listen to, it's what she likes to write and perform, regardless of genre. "I am inspired by many forms of music," she says. "I am drawn to music that is interesting and unique in some aspect – melody, harmonization and/or rhythm, and music that has a lot of dynamic interest - variable textures in sections, variations in loudness, dramatic build."
Comer is quick to point out that, whatever style or subject matter, music is its own reason for existing. As Comer puts it, "Music has intrinsic value and positive impact on our world and is an important and innate human need."
"Although her music is acoustic based,the arrangements go much deeper, culling from classical, folk, jazz, pop and rock...Comer's work is diverse and dynamic. Upon each listen more subtle sounds and styles unfold...Tracy Jane Comer is a musical force... "
Kweevak’s Tracks, 2004
Other Projects - Bands/Collaborations
In addition to her work as a solo performer, she greatly enjoys performing in support of others on instruments and on vocal harmonies. Tracy enjoys participating in several bands and side projects.
Current projects include Americana/folk collaborative Common Chord, which Tracy co-directs along with fellow singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Bryant. In this group Tracy plays guitar, bass, viola, cello, and hammered dulcimer and prepares most of the song arrangements for the group which also includes mandolin, clarinet, additional guitars and several vocalists.
Tracy is also band leader of the Briana Patrice Trio, in which she prepares arrangements and plays guitar and keyboard and sings backup for vocalist Briana Patrice (Bruckner) with support from percussionist Alan Maslowski. This act performs covers drawn from a wide variety of styles and eras.
Previous projects include Acoustic Alloy vocal duo with TC Peart; New Country band Wild Heart, in which Tracy shared lead vocal duties and played guitar, fiddle, and keyboard; jazz-folk project 3 of Cups (with Rachel Nelson of Minnesota); folk trio Sticky Fingers (with Michael Bryant and Damon Bourne, both of Madison); and eclectic acoustic trio Likely Stories (with Nancy Rost and Dave Schindele, both of Madison).
Tracy has enjoyed being a guest performer on instruments and harmonies on shows for a number of local and nationally touring artists including Holly Brook (Skylar Gray), Joe Jencks, Nelson Graham, Alaria Taylor, Four Wheel Drive, Mud Angels, and more.
"...A strong vocalist and wonderful player on cello, piano, guitar, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer..."
- THE BRIDGE WORKS
In The Studio
Comer uses her instrumental and vocal skills in the studio on her own recordings and frequently records as a guest artist on others' recordings as well.
Recordings: Tracy released her debut CD in 2002 and has followed with several additional titles in folk/acoustic and jazz. She also has released two concert DVDs plus several CDs with groups/side projects (Sticky Fingers, Likely Stories). Her music has appeared on several compilations published by Spiritone Records and by Indiegrrl as well.
Additionally, Tracy has appeared as guest artist on many recordings for other musicians, adding cello, guitar, piano, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, and harmony vocals. She has also assisted with musical arrangements and with technical assistance in tracking and mixing. A few of the artists that Tracy has recorded with include Jack Wiliams, Michael Bryant, Mare Edstrom, Kenn Fox, Dave Schindele, Nancy Rost, Rachel Nelson, Tony Bonanno, Nelson Graham, Amy Curl, Stephen Lee Rich, Nancy Irizarry, and more.
Tracy was born and spent her youth in North Carolina (Wilmington and Raleigh). She is now based in Madison, WI where she lives with her husband, Allen. She studied music at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Peace College, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has an extensive musical background that includes collegiate study in classical piano, cello, theory, and musicology, plus extensive private instruction in violin, voice, and guitar (classical and acoustic fingerstyle).
Tracy has had involvement with folk, pop/rock, choral and theater music, jazz, country, bluegrass, Celtic music, and many things in between. As a pianist, Tracy has years of experience accompanying for choirs, instrumentalists, vocalists, and musical theater. She has also composed, conducted and arranged for choirs, handbells, and instrumental ensembles. As a freelance endeavor, Tracy does music notation and transcription for songwriters and instrumentalists; see www.commonchord.biz.
"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...."
- Rick’s Café, Madison, WI
Press kit items are available on request.
Please inquire if you would like either a physical (mailed) or electronic press kit. (See the CONTACT page.)
See the MUSIC/CDs page to listen to samples or see a list of published recordings.