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‘I Just See You’ takes listener on journey

By Rhea Mahbubani

“I Just See You” is nothing if not relatable.

A mother spends hours ferrying her daughter to and from school, only to be snarled at for being weird.

A girl makes a valiant effort to move on, but the unexpected discovery of her ex’s gray and blue tennis shoes sends her on a trip down memory lane.

A dysfunctional couple fills the silence between them with a potent mix of alcohol and drugs.

Like I said, real.

Admit it or not, we’ve all been there — from wanting to protect a loved one from sadness to lamenting the loss of love.

This 11-song CD takes the listener on a voyeuristic journey through life as seen through Tracy Newman’s eyes.

Tracy Newman sitting at microphone, playing guitar and singing

Tracy Newman recording her CD “A Place in the Sun” in Nashville.

Emmy award-winning TV writer Newman and her Reinforcements came together in 2004. Unveiled in September last year, “I Just See You” is the singer-songwriter’s second album — a modern-folk creation that took five years to release.

The album is laced with a refreshing country flavor, with hints of jazz lilts in “If It Were Up To Me.” Mostly upbeat with pensive undertones, the album showcases Pat McGrath on acoustic guitar, Dave Francis on upright bass, Robbie Turner on steel guitar and pedal steel, and Russ Pahl on dobro, banjo and pedal steel. Some songs also features Gene Lippmann on the guitar and John Cartwright on upright bass.

Newman, with an airy subtle twang, and fellow singers Lippmann and Rebecca Leigh breathe life into the album with clear voices and effortless singing.

The album flaunts an acoustic sound, with mellow harmonies that complement, but never steal, the spotlight from Los Angeles-based Newman’s poignant lyrics.

She uses every song to tell stories starring married couples, lovers and even parents. Relationships provide fodder for this album, which is alternately, and often simultaneously, humorous, honest and moving — all conveyed with simple and dulcet verses.

The album’s songs, a sampling of Newman’s creative prowess, don’t require concentration to follow. Pop it into your car’s player and the toe-tapping music will be sure to elicit a nod, sigh or chuckle, and leave you humming when it’s over.

Newman seems like an approachable and down-to-earth person who would leave the recording studio and be game to grab a drink with you, which adds to the overall charm.

“Fire Up The Weed” took first place in the Great American Song Contest in 2011 with its ironical tale — “This must be the way we want it/ This must be what we need/ I’ll make the martinis/ And your fire up the weed.”

“Table Nine,” a tipping of the hat to Newman’s idol, Merle Haggard, won third place in the American Songwriter Lyric Contest in 2011 for verses such as, “He asks my age, I’m 21/ He smiles and says, “How’d you get to be so young?”/ I call him a flirt, he calls me sunshine/ The man at table nine.”

The song “I Just See You” was the result of a group writing class in which Newman was asked to write about looking into a mirror. A personal favorite, this song makes the listener privy to a long-term relationship with, “Let me be your looking glass/ Look at me when you walk past/ And see yourself the way that I do/ I don’t see young, I don’t see old — I just see you.”