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|Trace Elements with guests Red Young, keyboards & Lavelle Jones, drums.
Photo by David Barsott
Trace Elements - the band. Musically, the idea is to not play the "typical" blues set, but to infuse a love of blues, rock and Texas music into a groove that won't quit.... Vocalist Tracy Ready has been singing live and writing songs with other musicians for more than 25 years. He was fortunate in his youth to know and be mentored by legendary Texas musicians Augie Meyers and Doug Sahm, of Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados fame. As an adult, Tracy pursued a career in television, spent 5 years as a cameraman for CNN, and has now owned Trace Productions, an award winning video production business, for more than 12 years. His passion away from the career has always been music.
Tracy Ready - Vocals, Lyricist, Producer;
Kevin Lewis - Guitars, Bass;
Sparky Montoya - Keyboards;
John Echols - Bass;
Mike Beall - Drums.
That’s the core of Trace Elements, the band. This lineup is supported for various performance and recording purposes by a rotating cast of fine musicians including: Clay Meyers - Drums, Percussion, Production, Engineering; Dana Clark - Vocals, Keyboard, Saxophone; Sal Salvador - Bass, Production, Engineering; Bruce Clendenin – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboard; and Jason Meyers - Guitar.
Trace Elements are currently recording their first full length CD release at January Sound Studios in Dallas and Blue Cat Studios in San Antonio, Texas. Guest artists who will appear on the CD include the above-mentioned Augie Meyers in San Antonio, and blues master Hash Brown from Dallas. Three songs from the CD release will also be included in soundtracks to two documentary films being produced in conjunction with Still Kickin’ Foundation about Dallas and San Antonio musical history.
Trace Elements – Booking call 972.437.4433.
Trace Elements delve headlong into a mix of originals, classic Texas blues rock and several "off the beaten track" selections, performed by great players from both Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. At this time, the Dallas group is the "live" band, and the San Antonio gang is gearing up for recording and as guest artists to appear with the Dallas band. Both groups are comprised of seasoned players - "A-list" Texas musicians and great friends with a passion for the music. Musically, the idea is to not play the "typical" blues set, but to infuse a love of blues, rock and Texas music into a groove that won't quit.
In addition to originals by Tracy Ready in collaboration with other artists, Trace Elements perform material recorded by: T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon, Delbert McClinton, Doug Sahm, Little Feat, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Etta James…more…
See below for details on how this "experiment" has evolved.
Thanks for listening.
"I live the life I love, and I love the life I live."
- Willie Dixon
TRACE Elements is an on-going musical project dreamed up by Tracy D. Ready, a video producer and cameraman based in Dallas, Texas. Tracy has his roots in the music business, as a lyricist, singer, live sound technician, and promotions agent for live bands from 1978 – 1989. While a high school sophomore, living in Bulverde, Texas, Tracy met keyboardist Wade Jacoby, whose creative energy in songwriting, music and life inspired Tracy to begin writing song lyrics. He also met drummer Clay Meyers, son of legendary keyboardist Augie Meyers, and Clay and Tracy’s paths have been entwined like brothers to this day. Wade and Clay were both performing with a San Antonio based country-rock band called River City Pleasure. So, with an intense interest in music, desire to meet girls, and not wanting to be left out of anything, Tracy became the band’s roadie at the ripe age of 15. He spent many nights hanging out behind the stage, too young to be allowed to wander up to the bar while the band played. But soon things would get more serious. His first significant band experience came with an all original art-rock outfit called Lifeus, which Tracy helped to form with Clay Meyers, Dick “Chaz” Deats and Stephan Lewis at age 16. They performed a bombastic, free form style of art-rock (today they would be known as a “progressive” rock band) in front of a surprised mix of crowds including stints as an opening act for larger rock bands including Iron Butterfly, Head East and Van Wilks. Lifeus, with the addition of vocalist Charles Douglas, released a 10-inch EP (that’s a vinyl record for you youngsters!), called “Dear John” in 1982, which garnered decent local acclaim, but with little promotion or backing, airplay was sparse. In Lifeus, Tracy wrote much of the lyrics for the original material (thanks to Dick “Chaz” Deats for believing in the lyric ability of a 16 year old hippie kid), learned to run live sound, sang some backing vocals and generally took a lot of abuse from the other members of the band. Ha! (love you guys). As a result of this association, Tracy had the privilege of knowing and hanging out with Clay’s father, legendary Texas Vox keyboardist Augie Meyers and his long time musical partner, the late great Doug Sahm, both of the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados fame. These legendary musicians put their stamp on Tracy’s life in many ways and further inspired him to be a vocalist in his own right, singing Texas boogie, rhythm and blues.
Following Lifeus, and several other short lived bands, Tracy helped to form Blue Streak in 1984, a band that combined classic rock with electric Texas blues and original music and developed a respectable following at clubs in San Antonio and surrounding towns until their break up in 1988. This band included guitarist Kevin Lewis, a great friend and incredible musician with whom Tracy continues to collaborate with and who is an integral part of the TRACE Elements combination. Among a rotating cast of bass players in Blue Streak, Craig “El-Groovo” Bowker, came along and another long term musical friendship began for Tracy.
Craig has moved about the country for his nursing career, but seems to always be drawn back to Texas. He contributed bass parts for the TRACE Elements demo and is likely to show up as a guest as well in the live version of the band.
In this same time frame (mid to late 1980’s), Tracy did various other live sound gigs, wrote articles for local music magazines and engineered numerous small recording sessions, including the Blue Streak demo sessions. Long time friend and Blue Streak fan Sharda Brody had a studio set up in her San Antonio home, where she would record with her performance art trio “Olives”, and many other local acts. Tracy and Sharda developed a musical kinship and friendship then that carries on through today, as Sharda appears as a duet-singing partner and keyboardist on the TRACE Elements demo CD.
In 1989, Tracy put music on the back burner of life to pursue a career in video and television production with a move from San Antonio to Dallas and a return to college. In Dallas, the focus was getting a job in television, but meanwhile, Tracy began writing and recording with composer/editor Mark Boardman. Many original songs came out of this collaboration, but live performance took a back seat to marriage and a job as a cameraman for CNN. One song, The Flood, continued to stick in Tracy’s head above any others from this era, and has now been re-vamped in an acoustic version by Kevin Lewis and is a part of the set list for the live incarnation of TRACE Elements. Special thanks goes to Mark Boardman, now living in Michigan, for his inspiration and dedication to the music during those formative years.
In 1995, Tracy left his staff job at CNN to begin life as a freelancer, and has never looked back. More information on his career in video production can be found at www.TraceProductions.com
Also in 1995, Tracy and now ex-wife Jeanie had a beautiful daughter, Olivia, who continues to be a joy and inspiration for song to this day. Becoming a father, spending time devoted to raising his daughter, further inspired Tracy to return to some pursuit of music, lyric writing, and singing.
Around 1997, Tracy began recording again on a little cassette 4-track machine and developing the idea of recording songs with various friends around the state, when time and schedules would permit. This was the genesis of the TRACE Elements project.
Sometime around 1998 (?) a studio session was booked with drummer, engineer, and friend for life Clay Meyers and guitarist Kevin Lewis, where they cut basic tracks for 4 songs. These tracks still await completion, but two of Tracy’s originals from this session, “Turning Blue” and “Open Mind, Open Eye” are currently in the set list for the live band version of TRACE Elements.
A few years skipped by, marriage ended in divorce and Tracy began to really pursue the idea of TRACE Elements, to record various songs that he has written with his musical friends over the years, to sing some material that has greatly influenced him (T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon, Doug Sahm) and to generally enjoy performing again. Back in Dallas, he began to go out to the regular open mic jam sessions at clubs like The Bone, Lota’s Goat, The Hole in the Wall, to get the thrill of singing onstage again and to find like minded musicians with which to collaborate with. It was at these jams that Tracy met up with Patrick Rogers, a righteous guitarist and singer who had relocated to Dallas from Los Angeles in the late 90’s. Tracy and Patrick have found much musical common ground and are developing a serious collaboration for the live version of TRACE Elements.
In 2003, Tracy recorded at various times with an eclectic group of his longtime friends including Kevin Lewis (San Antonio), keyboardist and vocalist Sharda Brody (Paris, Texas), and bassist Craig “El-Groovo” Bowker. The result was a six-song demo CD they call TRACE Elements – “Midnight on Mariposa” (Mariposa is the name of the street where they recorded much of the tracks in Tracy’s living room). A great time was had by all and now the plan is to pull off a few select gigs from time to time, incorporating the great musicians of Tracy’s past with new friends and serious players backing them up from the Dallas area.
That’s the story (so far) of TRACE Elements, a personal dream come true –
Thanks - Trace