If you are intrigued by the vocal stylings of Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, and harmonica similar to Little Walter and Sonny Terry, then you will love Manitoba’s Tracy K. She has brought audiences to their feet at Folk, Blues and Jazz festivals with her powerful voice, hot harmonica playing and captivating stage presence. Her energy packed shows deliver catchy originals, toe-tapping blues, jazz and roots covers. She’s shared playbills with John Sebastian, Koko Taylor, opened for James Cotton, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and performed twice with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. First Runner Up in Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search she was also featured at their Harmonica Workshop and Women's Blues Revue. Tracy K has toured festivals and events from Canada to the Caribbean, Manitoba to Memphis as an acoustic duo or with tastefully appointed band members. This songstress has collected nine awards during her two decade career thus far, and is Canada’s only award winning female harmonica player.
‘What’s the Rush?’, Tracy K’s fourth studio album, was released in September 2016, and truly reflects her depth of talent, uninhibited soulful passion, and appetite for storytelling. ‘What’s the Rush?’ reached number one on Canadian Roots Radio, charting for months. Tracy K effortlessly delivers moodfull melodies laced with that unmistakable bluesy groove. Impressive reviews from Europe, USA and Canada rave about her singing, songwriting and harmonica playing. Listen closely, and you’ll discover an honesty and authenticity in musicianship and lyricism that can be acquired only from a lifetime of living.
Tracy K began indelibly stamping her versatility on the Canadian music scene in the late 1980s in Toronto, utilizing her outstanding harmonizing skills in live and studio session work. Apparently she wasn’t in a rush back then, either, because it took her until 2000 to release her own album, all original. She began to tour Canada and USA clubs, blues, jazz and folk festivals, theatre concerts, women-in-blues events, honing her craft and sharing the stage with A-list international blues performers. Her songwriting catalogue boasts a song for a movie and two International Songwriting Competition Award Winning songs.
Tracy K’s recording career continued in 2007 with the release of a second album, the award garnering ‘Old, New, Borrowed & Blues’, and then the five-starred acoustic duo album Canned Heat in 2011. In 2014, she was the sole Canadian included on Ruf Records Blues Harp Women compilation album, and Mary4Music's Keeping the Blues Alive: Volume Six. She won regional competitions to represent Thunder Bay at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee as a band in 2013 and duo in 2014, and was invited to return to Memphis in 2015 as one of the judges. While there, she was asked to arrange harmonies on a song for a fellow bluesman at Ardent Studios and had some fun recording at the infamous Sun Studios.
Unknown to locals at the inaugural Thunder Bay Blues Festival in 2002, Tracy K was an instant hit and was invited back for an encore in 2003. She moved to Thunder Bay in 2004, where she became a positive force impacting the local music community. She created and hosted a weekly Sunday Night Blues Jam and was a member of tribute troupe Thunder Bay Legends, posing as Janis Joplin, Ronnie Spector, Bobby Gentry and Brenda Lee. Tracy K has enjoyed the distinct honour of performing two concerts with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in full diva glory.
Among her personal reinventions is her own contemporary blues band, wherein she likes to kick it up notch with her trademark amplified harmonica, and test the limits of her vocal prowess. You will hear great blues and swing-jazz covers by the likes of Willie Dixon, Billie Holiday, Percy Mayfield, Koko Taylor, and more. This show is home to her upbeat electric originals from her own releases. Expect highly professional players in her band, with years of experience playing with other Canadian greats and popular legends.
She also performs in an acoustic blues duo with partner Jamie “Snakeman” Steinhoff, whose mastery of acoustic, Dobro and lap steel guitar is derived from a well-informed history of early blues and folk. They have performed several folk festivals and a Home Routes Tour in 2018. When not performing, you might find these two selling 'Tracy K's Stolen Apple Jelly' (find the song on the duo release) alongside her CDs at the farmer’s market near her quiet country home in Manitoba. And you just might be lucky enough to hear them belt out a blues tune or two. Because that’s just the way Tracy K rolls these days, same way she always has: going with the flow, seizing the moment, and living every incarnation of life to the fullest.
Yes, there’s still a lot of life-after-life waiting for Tracy K. And she’s still not in a rush to get there.
Western Canadian Music Awards, Blues Artist of the Year, Current Nominee for 2018
International Blues Challenge – Regional Winner, Memphis Quarter Finalist, Band 2014
International Blues Challenge – Regional Winner, Memphis Quarter Finalist, Duo 2013
International Songwriting Competition – Blues Award 2007
International Songwriting Competition – Performance Award 2007
Ontario Independent Music Award – Best Blues Song 2007
Toronto Blues Society Talent Search – First Runner-Up 2007
Winnipeg Blues.com – Harmonica Player of the Year 2006
Winnipeg Blues.com – Female Vocalist of the Year 2006
Winnipeg Blues.com – Electric Act of the Year – Nomination 2006
PAST PERFORMANCES (SELECT LIST):
Home Routes Tour (2018)
Winter Blues Fest, Winnipeg (2018)
Fargo Bluesfest, ND (2017)
Blues on the Red, Grand Forks, ND, (2017)
Santiago Shakedown, MN (2017)
Winnipeg BBQ & Bluesfest (2012,14,16)
Winnipeg Jazz Festival (1999 - 2005 inclusive)
Saskatchewan Mid-Winter Blues Festival, Regina/Saskatoon, (2005,08,15)
Women’s Blues Fest Minneapolis (2003)
Live from the Rock Music Festival, Red Rock, Ont. (2003,06,09,12,14)
Thunder Bay Blues Festival (2002, 03, 05, 08, 11, 13, 14)
Great Woods Music Festival, Beausejour, MB (1998-2003 inclusive)
Toronto Blues Society's Harmonica Workshop (2003)
Women's Blues Revue – Toronto ON (2002)
Women In Blues International Showcase - Memphis Tennessee (2013,14,15)
Fed Ex International Showcase - International Blues Challenge, Memphis Tennessee (2014)
What’s the Rush (2016)
Canned Heat (2011)
Old, New, Borrowed & Blues (2007)
Welcome to my Fantasy (2000)
Blues Harp Women – Ruf Records (2015)
Keeping the Blues Alive Vol.6 – Mary4Music (2014)
Science of Being Distant – CBC Radio One Bandwidth
3 Singles for Prairie Fire Project – Canadian Diabetes Foundation (2003)
Rock This House – licensed to Zernick Von-Sertner Films, L.A. (2002)
"This is outdoor-festival music, tailor-made for a big stage and (even) bigger crowd." - Rainey Wetnight, Blues Blast Magazine, 2017
"What’s The Rush? has grit and soul, and is rough around the edges in just the right places. As a singer Tracy K is like Bonnie Raitt and Koko Taylor, and she blows some of the best blues harp this side of Little Walter. Production at Winnipeg’s award winning Bedside Studios by Len Milne is perfect - rowdy, deep and intimate. Throwing this on is like walking into the middle of the best party ever. Stunning." 5+ rating - Gonzo Okanagan Music Reviews, 2016
Canadian "mojo mama" Tracy K has been around the proverbial block; while What’s The Rush? is just her fourth album, it feels like the work of a case-hardened musical veteran. Ms. K gets her personal stories across with style. The engineering by Len Milne at Winnipeg’s Bedside Studios is razor-sharp: it's obvious she and her compadres didn’t rush through these tracks, but instead gave them enough attention to make the grade. - Jeff Monk, Winnipeg Free Press, 2016
"There’s only eight tracks here but I’d rather have quality than a CD stuffed full of filler so this works a treat. She has a very listenable voice and there is an insistent groove to her music that works really well. Also, she can blow a mean mouth harp." - the Rocker UK, 2016
"This lady has more than thirty years of music experience and that is evident. The songs are well-written and well-considered, each of them are little stories. And they are all wrapped in beautiful blues and boogie." - BarnowlBlues, NL, 2016
“…a powerful and rich vocalist and a harmonica player of the highest order… Navigating between folk blues, pure juicy blues and blues that is tinged with pop, Tracy K pulls no punches.” - Zicazine, 2016
"Next to her beautiful voice, she is also a gifted harmonica player. It is easy to understand that Tracy K must have a large and loyal fan base in her home country, with Europe and the rest of the world to follow very soon." - Rudolf’s Music 2016
"Her raspy vocals and 'smokey' style of harmonica playing just fascinates, and the accompanying musicians create original musical expression, deeply engraved feelings and an atmosphere of the best traditional blues, and urban blues in general. This completely justifies all the saliva glistening reviews made by numerous music critics." - Soundguardian, Mladen Loncar, 2016