Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 5/5
Tracy Grammer rose to acclaim in the late 90s as half an eponymous duo with Dave Carter. Following Carter’s death in 2002, Grammer toured on her own, building a, reputation as a musician, interpreter of song and songwriter across two albums and two EPs. Low Tide is the first collection of Grammer’s own songwriting and represents a major developing in terms of sound and delivery. “The Hole” and “Mercy” are wonderful Country Rockers. Smooth of voice but lyrically sharp when writing about herself and her failures in love, Tracy delivers superb openers. Her intricate acoustic guitar contrasts with co-producer Jim Henry’s spikier electric guitar work. “Forty-niner” has a softer atmosphere, clouds of atmosphere and Tracey’s warm perfect vocals are spot on. The song is an observational piece about gamblers, mining for silver dollars, driven like Gold Rush hopefuls. “The Mark” is literally a gospel rocker, detailing Cain’s blistering statement of purpose, brimming with vim and fire. Whether throwing up washes of abstract noise of stabs of Rock n Roll hellfire fury Jim Henry’s guitar cooks, perfectly contrasting Tracy Grammer’s superb vocal. “Daffodil Days” is a melancholic look back at a failed relationship, packed full of well-drawn imagery it is delivered with warmth and love. Gramme says of Low Tide, “My entire musical foundation – Classical, Country, Pop and Folk – informs this recording. I feel like I found my voice – many of them, actually – and told the truth”. If you are smitten with Tracy Grammer the angelic ballad singer, then “Were You Ever Here” and “Good Life” are probably Tracey’s strongest vocals on the album. She just rings out on “Were You Ever Here”, the quality of her singing against her Viola made me think of Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s Come on Come On and the track “I am a Town”. Both singers use space and let you hear every note, both songs use rural nostalgic metaphors to build atmosphere. “Good Life”, Grammer’s most requested song in concert is an emotionally charged review of her father’s trials and troubles told from his perspective. Again the imagery and writing is spot on, the song atmospheric and delivered with love. The last verse is a poetic truism, full of real experience and a sense of a real life lived. Tracy Grammer’s cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbursting”, stripped of its pop and imagined as an emotional Country lullaby is glorious and delivered with love. A song about remembering a lost father and nature’s rebirth it makes a perfect song cycle with “Good Life” and the gentle “The Verdant Mile” written for Dave Carter and first recorded in 2004. “Free” is a hopeful hymn, full of warmth and joy, an affirmation after the songs of love, loss and family. A hopeful note after a journey through grief.