TRACY GRAMMER rose to acclaim as half of the “postmodern, mythic American folk” duo, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer. From 1998-2001, the duo released three internationally celebrated, folk chart-topping albums featuring Carter’s mytho-poetic Americana songcraft and in 2002, toured with Joan Baez, both as featured artists and Baez’s band members. Called the new voice of modern folk music, the duo was clearly in its ascendancy when in July 2002, Carter suffered a fatal heart attack while the duo was on tour. He was 49; Grammer, 34.
Tracy is celebreating the release of her new CD “Low Tide,” her first recording in many years. This will be an evening to be remembered.
Determined to honor the duo’s journey and bring Carter’s songs, and those of other favorite writers, to broader audiences, Grammer has kept to the road, releasing solo albums as well as selections from the Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer archives. Her latest release, LITTLE BLUE EGG, is a collection of intimate recordings from the duo’s home studios. LBE was the #1 most-played album on Folk Radio in 2012, and once again, the duo were the #1 most-played artists for the year.
Grammer has become one of folk music’s most beloved artists. Renowned for her springwater-clear alto, perfectly intoned violin, and guitar playing that is by turns percussive and delicate, Grammer is also a masterful storyteller with an ease and charisma on stage — not to mention a riotous sense of humor — that hardly belie her modest beginnings as Carter’s reclusive accompanist. Stories about the duo’s first meeting, Carter’s quirks and fancies, or Grammer’s own misadventures and missteps are woven thoughtfully into the set list to create a uniquely personal evening that connects audiences to the performer, to the Carter/Grammer legacy, and most importantly, to one another. Additionally, Grammer has begun down the songwriter’s path as part of RealWomenRealSongs, and is sharing her fresh, fledgling efforts — and the stories behind them — on her current tour, to the delight of longtime fans.
As one fan put it, “With Tracy, it’s never just about the music. It’s a soul journey.”
Grammer tours the United States and Canada regularly and has traveled to Europe and Japan. She holds the record for the most consecutive appearances at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival ~ a lucky 13. She performs in a variety of configurations — solo, duo, trio, and full band — with Jim Henry (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Burns Sisters, Susan Werner), Rob Schnell (Glim Dropper, Christine Havrilla), Tom Hampton (Marshall Tucker Band, Poco), and David Chalfant (Nields) rounding out her ensembles.
In addition to touring, Grammer is the director of the Dave Carter Legacy Project. Her publishing company, Tracy Grammer Music, administers licenses for Carter’s catalog of music. She is a member of the Bucks County Writers Workshop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where she is working on a memoir about her time with Dave Carter. Tracy lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with her beloved Miss Kitty.
ERIC LEE opens
Raised in rural upstate New York, Eric Lee’s earliest introductions to music were the sounds of his mother’s piano and the songs of John Gorka, Bob Dylan, and Jackson Browne. He began studying classical violin and traditional Irish fiddle at the age of nine, and was soon performing and recording with local artists. After moving to Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, he continued playing live and in studios, branching into psychedellic rock and bluegrass, playing in the pit orchestras of musicals, and writing his own songs and compositions.
In 2007, Lee attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, where the newly-formed supergroup, The Strangelings (featuring musical legends Pete & Maura Kennedy, Christina Thompson, Rebecca Hall, Ken Anderson, and Cheryl Prashker,) spotted Eric and his fiddle and invited him to join them on an informal campground performance. That Saturday night, after two days into his first music festival, Eric Lee, (then eighteen), was playing on the main stage as the band’s newest member.
With the conclusion of the Strangelings’ two-year run, Eric became a member of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s House Band, a position formerly held by virtuosic violinists Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Jake Armerding, playing alongside some of the most respected and gifted professionals in the folk community, and has since accompanied such iconic artists as John Gorka, Peter Rowan, Vance Gilbert, Dan Navarro, The Kennedys, Lucy Kaplansky, The Nields, Tracy Grammer, the Grand Slambovians, Tom Rush, and Eliza Gilkyson, among others. It is these landmark artists along with the works of the revered late song smith Dave Carter that inform and inspire Lee’s own songwriting.
The music of Eric Lee is a chimera of genres and influences; an ever-evolving world of sonic exploration with stand-alone melodies always at it’s core. His new EP traverses a range of emotion, from the unbridled joy of love in “Miles Above the Ground” to the wrenching pain of Eros in “To Write you a Song”; the unflattering honesty of coping with loss (“Life Without You”) to the cosmic petition to the ancient powers in “Hands of Fortune.”
In addition to performing as a solo artist (and on some occasions with a backing band), he continues to work as a session artist and sideman. He plans to record and release a full-length album in the near future.