Q&A with Tracy Grammer

What was the first concert you attended? John Denver, Anaheim Convention Center, fourth grade. I knew just about every word because my dad played guitars and we sang those songs together out of our Poems, Prayers, and Promises songbook.

What is your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experience? Most memorable. The bar was called Flying Kids. Hiroshima (Japan). I’m half a world away singing a Dave Carter ballad called “Gypsy Rose” with a Japanese mother-daughter pair adding beautiful three-part harmony. We’re standing in front of a swaying SRO crowd of Japanese Americana fans who, I was told, couldn’t understand a word of what we were saying. Nevertheless, it was obvious they were moved. Doesn’t happen to me often, but I remember choking back tears and thinking to myself, “I wish Dave could see me now." A photographer snapped pictures; a videographer captured the moment and later made a beautiful montage from the trip. You can see it all right here: 

Which of your songs is your favorite and why? Right now I like “Were You Ever Here?” even though I’m not entirely sure it’s done. The guitar figure came to me in a dream, which made me happy. The lyrics describe a difficult relationship transition, and I’m still listening as I sing for the wisdom the song is trying to impart, or anything else that might need saying. We have a “thing,” me and this song. We’re a work in progress. We are partners. It’s cool.

Of the Dave Carter songs I still play, I think “The Mountain” is my all-time favorite. A beautiful guitar figure underneath mystical, poetic lyrics … such stuff I could never come up with, with a depth I may never fully plumb, and yet ~ I remain grateful to know it as intimately as I do, and feel I am able to sing it with my whole heart as if it were my own. A true gift.

If you could open for any artist in the next year, who would it be? If my songwriting heads off in the direction I think it will (and I’m only partly in charge of that), it would be interesting to open for Josh Ritter. I like to be aligned with songwriters who take a literate, story-based approach. It would also be fantastic to tour with someone like Andrew Bird so that I can steal from his bag of tricks. I play violin but don’t usually incorporate it into my solo shows — and I know he has mastered this. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up? I wanted to be Jane Goodall and work with chimps. I wanted to teach. I wanted to sing. On any given day, you might say I get to do all three. :)

What is your favorite phrase? Stop thinking.

Cat person, dog person, or both?  Miss Kitty, posing as a burrito. My best pal since 2006.

Books or movies? Books. I don’t remember movies.