In Conversation with Tracy Shedd

Fort Lowell Records In Conversation Tracy Shedd

Tracy Shedd
The artist, Tracy Shedd

We recently had the opportunity to speak with indie recording artist Tracy Shedd. Shedd's fantastic debut album, "Blue," first released in 2001 on Teen-Beat Records, is a slow-burning indie-pop gem.

Celebrating its 20 Year Anniversary and officially released this past August, we're now seeing the album (again) for the very first time on beautiful 140g striking blue vinyl (an obvious but wonderful play on the album title--the original was only released on CD format) courtesy of NC-based record label, Fort Lowell Records (run by Shedd's longtime musical collaborator, and husband, James Tritten).

Teen-Beat Records' Mark Robinson (in partnership with Fort Lowell) has revisited the beautiful original 2001 design for the new album pressing (repackaging it for vinyl, including a lyric sheet and photographer and musician Emily Wilder's original images). This limited edition of the "Blue" pressing captures a remarkable beginning for Shedd who has gone on to amass five other full-lengths (including her most recent release, 2019's "The Carolinas"), an EP (2010's "EP88"), and an abundance of additional single tracks and others (digital singles, unique pressings, live sets, and tracks on compilations) throughout her lengthy career. 

Tracy Shedd BLUE Album
The 20th Anniversary edition of "Blue" on blue vinyl (Fort Lowell, 2021).

Read our interview with Shedd, below:

Carly: First: congratulations on the 20th Anniversary release of your debut album, "Blue" on vinyl. What can you tell us about the early days of leading up to the release of the album (recollections/memories) on CD in 2001? Second: how did signing to Teen-Beat and working with Mark Robinson come about?

Tracy Shedd: Blue was originally meant to be a demo, but Mark Robinson of Teen-Beat felt otherwise, and thankfully so. Mark is a friend of ours, and wanted to get the recording released right away as a debut album. My favorite moment on Blue comes right around the 3:04 marker on "Something Good", where you can hear the local Somerville, MA, MBTA Bus put the brakes on as it pulls up to a bus stop which was located right outside the recording studio.

With the remaster and repackaging of "Blue" on vinyl--were there any particular pain points or celebrated moments along with way (especially while completing the project during a vinyl manufacturing shortage)? Was the reissue planned very far in advance and are there plans to reissue and remaster "Red" or any others (early releases not currently available on vinyl), next?

We were very fortunate with "Blue," and able to have the vinyl back in just a short few months. The entire project was executed within the 2021 calendar year. Yes, Red (Teen-Beat; 2003) and Louder Than You Can Hear (Devil In The Woods; 2004) will both receive 20th Anniversary vinyl reissues via Fort Lowell Records in their respective years ahead. As we continue to write new music, we will likely release songs individually one-by-one as digital singles, as we did last year with "Mantra."

Do you have any favorites among your releases (throughout your career)?

I cherish all of my work for what it is for the time in which it was created.

You've been friends with Emily Wilder (Photographer, Video Artist, and musician in Wet & Reckless) for years now--how did you first meet and work together?

We met on the dance floor at Einstein A Go-Go, a legendary all-ages alternative/indie-rock dance club and live venue that used to exist in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

What was your favorite track to revisit from the remaster of "Blue"? Would you have changed anything about your setup from that time period?

Most of those songs were written on my vintage Micro-Frets 'Golden Comet' guitar. It's great hearing all of those songs now on vinyl for the first time.

Tell me more about your businesses (Petite Bonfire/No. 1 Supply) and the DJ night that you do with your husband/creative partner and bandmate James' Tritten (of Fort Lowell). It sounds like you are busy! Out of necessity comes creativity! I particularly love that all items made by No.1 Supply are named after album tracks (a definitive number one selling point for me, always)! 

Petite Bonfire has been in existence since our years in Tucson, AZ; 2006-2013. Let's Dance actually began pre-COVID as 'Manic Monday,' but we've been hosting DJ nights since we started Fort Lowell Records back in 2009; this is just the first time we've branded the events as their own thing. I became a certified Health Coach in 2020, something I set out to accomplish the year prior, which ultimately led to No. 1 Supply launching at the end of 2020; but there are roots that run deep as well with No. 1 Supply.

Luz de Vida II

"Luz de Vida II: A Compilation to Benefit Homicide Survivors," (out November 5th, 2021, on Fort Lowell) will benefit homicide survivors looking for assistance and support groups (for Spanish and English speaking community members) via the organization, Homicide Survivors, Inc. in Tucson, AZ (your former home, and I'm sure a place you still feel near and dear to). Can you tell us more about the upcoming compilation and a little about your track that will be featured on that?

Luz de Vida II is a compilation album that features artists such as Dr. Dog, Calexico, L'Orange, Amos Lee, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and a personal friend of mine, Gabriel Naïm Amor, as well as many other great musicians. "Chasing Time" is the title of my song that will be included on Luz de Vida II. It is written from a perspective of empathy towards those who have survived homicide.

GROW Benefit

Another benefit compilation, released in October 2020, was "GROW," a benefit to support and act in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Proceeds from this album support your local agency, NHC NAACP (New Hanover County and Wilmington in North Carolina). It sounds as if all of the resources were a team effort involving not only musicians, but pressing plants, and artists, and that both you and James really do grow within any community that you've moved to and created your home in over the years, which is wonderful. It must have been a salve, in effect, getting you back in touch with musician friends and makers (to release this) also?

Yes, GROW proved to be very healing for a lot of people, but more importantly (5) students were granted scholarships from the sale of GROW, and there will be more recipients as we continue to sell GROW through digital outlets indefinitely.

What are your thoughts on where we're at right now--and what keeps you positive and inspired?

My love for life, family, and my friends continue to inspire me, and it gives me the strength to continue to write music.

Any upcoming dates, other events, or projects that you would like to mention?

I will be performing live in concert at the Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach, NC--on Thursday, September 23rd, along with Pinky Verde, who was part of GROW as well.

Purchase the 20th Anniversary Limited Edition of Tracy Shedd's album, "Blue," in our shop, click here or on Fort Lowell Records, or other limited shops, where available.

Find more of Tracy Shedd's music on the following websites:

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