QUIRK’S Q&A: Tracy Walton

Musician Tracy Walton - Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson
Musician Tracy Walton - Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson

Tracy Walton is one of the preeminent singer-songwriters, musicians, and performers in New England who founded the On Deck Sound Studio in Northwest Connecticut. From the early days of studying music at the Hartford Conservatory, through the years performing in jazz, punk rock, and classic rock groups, Walton honed his skills and matured as an artist. In his solo career, he recorded the albums “Brand New Again” (2010, “If I Ever Get Away” (2013) and “Moderately Unknown” (2015) and from 2017 to 2020 performed in the extraordinary musical duo Belle of the Fall. In all things, his love of music propels him forward to create.

Tracy Walton will be performing live on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hogan’s Cider Mill in Burlington as part of a “Live at Hogan’s Cider Mill” series sponsored by On Deck Sound Studio. This is an outdoor venue that will feature safe, socially distanced entertainment that will comply with the most current health standards per state regulations.

We asked Tracy Walton five questions about being a performer in 2020.

1) As a musician who loves to perform, how have you adapted during this time of the pandemic?

“Most professional musicians wear a few hats unless you are say Keith Richards where you just play Rolling Stones songs for a living. For the rest of us pros, diversifying helps. I have always had four income sources: studio work, teaching, performing, and royalties/merchandise sales. It just happened that I was mostly focused on my studio, On Deck Sound Studio, when this pandemic hit. This is not to say that my duo Belle of the Fall didn’t lose a bunch of great gigs, because we did. I am just grateful that I am finding so much reward in producing these days and it’s something I can continue to do.”

2) When the state allowed some businesses to reopen, On Deck Sound Studio reopened with safety precautions. Who are some of the performers who have taken advantage of the opportunities of your studio?

“Fortunately, I designed the studio with a separate entrance into the live room, which allows artists to enter the studio and remain behind the glass and social distance. I have been working on a big project with Kristi Flagg which is out in October. Cosmos Sunshine, Simone Marie, Kandy Kelson, Nathaniel Hintz, Sophia Cruz, Jeff Przech, Zero One Zero… I have been really busy. I recorded an audio book for Jeanne Street and a ukulele play along for Karen Hogg and Berklee College of Music. Matt Starr of Mr. Big and Ace Frehley just started doing session work here. Rich Hinman who works with K. D. Lang, Sarah Bareilles, and Roseanne Cash has been doing session work here as well, so we have some exciting stuff happening.

3) What is one song by any artist, local or worldwide, that has resonated with you the most this year and why?

“I feel like Sly and the Family Stone always had the right message, so I have been going back to the song “Stand” from them.”

4) Can you describe what performing live (in a safe way) means to you?

“Music has always brought us together and provided a connection in our human experience. Now, more so than ever maybe, we need to feel like we are part of something. I’ve always felt like my shows are gatherings were I am the host. I try to make everyone feel welcome and included in the night. I try to write songs that have some hope and highlight how we all have common wants and needs. This is my first live show since March, and my first scheduled solo show in five years, so it should be really exciting to see everyone and share some music.”

5) What is one bit of advice you/d give to an aspiring musician, performer songwriter starting their musical journey today?

“The thing that matters, in the end, is your music. Work on being as good as you can at what you do. I never saw the Beatles live, nor was swayed by their social media presence. What hooked me into all the great bands were the songs. Also, be kind to people. There is so much talent out there these days. Given the choice of 10 great guitar players to work with on a project, I am going to choose the one that is easy to work with every time.

On Deck Sound Studio Presents Tracy Walton at Hogan’s Cider Mill will be held October 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. and tickets are sold at ondecksoundstudio.com

Joseph Timothy Quirk is the creator and producer of Nutmeg Junction radio program which airs on 13 stations. He is a cartoonist who comics has appeared in four newspapers throughout 2009-2017 and has been a freelance entertainment journalist.