Born and raised in the skillet of Far Northern California,
Tracy Jean Manuel is your average
clarinetist-turned-jazz-drummer-turned-alt-folk-singer/songwriter. As a
full-time-student-turned-art-major, she’s turned duct tape into dresses and tea
bags into tapestries. Whether or not any of it turns out as planned is another
Writing and performing original music haphazardly described
as post-Americanatronica, Manuel treads the fine, invisible line between the
worlds of obstinate indie and timeworn, traditional songwriting. Some songs
echo through the empty space between conventional genres; others clatter back
from the depths of the generation gap. Ladled and served together, they form a catalog
of New West American roots music thoroughly steeped in the down-home, tracked
through the Calabama dirt, aired out under the pines, and dished up under a
variety of electronic sauces. They’re mulchy, yet unearthly. Dark. Spacious.
With a subtle twang. Slightly tannic, smooth finish.
Halfway Decent (TJM's wholly self-produced, wholly DIY
debut swooshily supported by the electronics of Greg Manuel), features a
makeshift slew of eclectic ingredients including acoustic guitar, electric
guitar, tenor ukulele, assorted percussion, various electronic seasonings, and
nature sounds. The experimental venture offers an alternative take on traditional
singer/songwriter processes as handmade folk tunes are left to roam their way
through new, shimmering, digitally manipulated sonic environments. And
considering the entire project was recorded in a living room on half a shoestring
budget, a certain amount of labor and love can be reasonably expected.
Manuel’s other preoccupations and projects are varied and
tend to involve erratic crossovers between the worlds of visual art, design,
drums, tea, puns, bright green vultures, and any/all other things music in and
around Redding, California. In addition to her solo work, she's often spotted
playing drums with the fine folks of the local Jim Dyar Band.