TW Music 2017
North Carolinian rocker proves it doesn’t take uprooting to stay true to oneself.
It’s been a steady course for this singer whose three albums saw him leave the confines of Charlotte and get noticed in the land of California where traditional, Americana-based rock is a rare commodity now. No wonder, though, as Michael Tracy treads a thin line between tracks that are alternatively arena-minded and hysterically personal, a method which is bound to find him new followers with each new release, “Still Got Soul” being the most illustrious of those.
There’s a nice buzz to most of the numbers, even though the title track – vigorous, if unhurried in its harmonic sway – is dipped in nostalgia, and a tad of drama is added to “Call Me Wild” with a heavy riff rearing a head. It’s much easier to love the infectious rockabilly beat ‘n’ twang behind “Laughter” that kick it out of a radio-friendly mold into a bedroom madness mode, or the call-and-response of bonus “Poinsettia Red” leads the listener outside for a communal rumble, yet getting around the album’s hidden scope is impossible.
That’s why “Sweet Smile” may be all spank and groove which lure one’s feet into tapping before the clapping keeps hands busy, too, but, given a touching bluegrass undercurrent, “My Lisa” would demonstrate a piano-plumbed depth and a filigree guitar. There’s also a nice balance, as the artist’s serious intent is epitomized in “Raven” – somehow cold and urgent piece – whereas the Hendrix-inspired intro of “Shake It” ushers in Prince-like soft funk and a call-to-arms chorus that’s cut with a sharp, fuzzy solo. All of it so soulful, Michael Tracy’s steady course can turn into steep upward curve after this record.