Photo courtesy of tracybyrdmusic.com/photos
Tracy Byrd, a Vidor, Texas native, is getting ready to come back to Stephenville, Texas for his performance at Twisted J tomorrow. Byrd is a known name in Texas Country and someone who people of all ages listen to. He’s been singing since he could remember and at 19 years old, he knew that wanted to do it professionally and had started writing his own songs at around that same time.
“I have been singing for as long as I can remember,” Byrd said. “I wrote my first song around 17, so that would have been around 1984. I have written a lot of songs and recorded several of them and even had a couple recorded by other singers, but I have never considered myself a songwriter.”
A few years later Byrd moved past playing music in private and started performing in front of people.
“I performed for the first time in front of a live audience in 1988,” Byrd said. “I always said they had to drag me onstage and then drag me off, that is how much I loved it.”
Touring may seem glamourous but, in all reality, it is required and may not be as fun as it seems.
“Well you don’t really decide to start touring. It is a necessity in the music business and anyway I love it, it is my way of life. I like touring for the fans and the music, but I dislike being away from home,” Byrd said. “I definitely need my guitar and coffee when I’m out on tour.”
Artists can go through several musicians that they play with throughout the years. A band may grow or move to a different location, which can create a need to find new members. Byrd was in Nashville, TN from 1993 to 2009, where he had a band with guys from Nashville. But when he took three years off and then decided he wanted to get back out on tour, he found guys from Texas and Louisiana to play with and has been playing with them since.
Byrd has been in the music industry for around 34 years and the guys Byrd looked up to have become acquaintances. Byrd never thought that he would be where he is today.
“I looked up to guys like, Merle Haggard and George Strait, they were my inspiration in the early days,” Byrd said. “Well I had certainly hoped I’d be here, but you never know. You just work hard and hope for the best.”
In addition, starting in the industry could take years and once you’re in, your family and friends become your biggest supporters.
“My family and friends have been very supportive,” Byrd said. “They are the ones that made all the sacrifices to allow me to do it.”
Artists are always working on new music, they are either writing lyrics, finding rhythms or finding songs. Byrd’s last album was released in 2016; luckily for the listeners, they wont have to wait much longer for new music.
“I am always trying to write and come up with new material,” Byrd said. “Hopefully by 2020 I will have a new studio album. We are doing a ‘Live at Billy Bob’s’ album in June and after that I will get serious about a new studio record.”
However, making albums is definitely not as easy as it seems, “finding the songs is always the hardest and definitely the most important part,” Byrd said.
After being in the industry that long, albums are pushed out concerts are done, and fans come and go. Even with that many songs, there will always be favorites.
“I love them all honestly, they all have a different place in my career and life,” Byrd said. “But if I had a favorite it would probably be ‘Keeper of the Star’s’ or ‘Watermelon Crawl’ is definitely the crowd favorite, I love them all.”
Byrd has been doing music long enough to find and define his sound. He would describe it as traditional country and western music.
Artists who are lucky enough to have fans stick around and grow with them are always so thankful.
“Thanks for your love and loyalty through the ups and the downs,” Byrd said.
There isn’t anything else Byrd could want, “All my dreams have come true” Byrd said.
If you are an old fan or a new one, you need to go check out Tracy Byrd this tomorrow night at Twisted J. Byrd is looking forward to a great night and being back in Stephenville.
“Been a long time since I was in Stephenville,” Byrd said. “Just hope everyone young and old will come out, we will try not to disappoint.”