Nothing Better Than You – Tracy Newman and the Reinforcements

Show 128 – Problems, habits, and Hot New Stuff!

Tracy Newman grew up in Los Angeles. She started playing guitar as a young teen, usually sitting on the diving board of her family’s pool, strumming for hours each day. Back then she was mostly influenced by the Kingston Trio, because she could actually play some of their songs, especially “Tom Dooley” which had, and still has, only two chords.

After high school, Tracy wanted to be a folksinger, but her parents insisted she go to college. She went to the U of A in Tucson and quickly dug up the “folk” community. Soon she stopped attending college and was playing on street corners for money.

Understandably, this freaked out her mother who flew to Tucson and dragged her back to LA for “help.” The therapist, an elderly man in a suit and tie, kept nodding off during Tracy’s sessions.

In her second, vintage-flavored, modern-folk album, I Just See You, award-winning singer-songwriter Tracy Newman reinforces what her first album suggested: She is one of the most talented story-song lyricists on the folk scene today.

This is not to overlook the refreshingly upbeat musicality of her songs – the smooth-as-glass harmonies by the Reinforcements (Gene Lippmann and Rebecca Leigh) that recall the heyday of sweet harmony in the ‘30s and ‘40s; the touch of old-time country swing in some wonderful steel guitar, pedal steel, and dobro; or Newman’s own crystal-clear vocals that are so easy on the ears. It is just that what is really remarkable in these 11 original songs are the words. The closer you listen, the better they get.

And you don’t have to “work at” listening, either.  

– Jackie Morris,