Tracy Lyons is a woman poised seemingly on the brink of breakout success. Her debut CD, Surrender, has slowly been inching up the adult contemporary charts, and its first single, "Love Hurts," has been getting plenty of airplay across the country. But this summer perhaps the greatest indicator of Lyons' potential would be the fact that she's touring with Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album-ed Kenny Loggins. Like most of us, she grew up listening to Loggins and Messina, and then just Loggins on such huge 1970s and '80s hits as "Whenever I Call You Friend," "This is It" and "I'm Alright." Recognition of her good fortune is not lost on Lyons.
"I'm having a great time," she says, quite sincerely, from her hotel room in Lake Tahoe. "Kenny Loggins is just fantastic, and the response I've been getting to my work is really incredible."
It helps that Surrender is filled with impassioned reports from the relationship trenches, delivered with Lyons' breathy, slightly pop vocals. And although her first record brings to mind one part Vonda Shepherd, another part Dixie Chicks and still yet a bit of the Corrs, it's Lyons' speaking voice that gives a strong clue as to where her oldest influences lie.
"I started out looking at maybe doing some more traditionally Celtic songs," she says, in her rich Irish accent, "but that was not to me representative of everything that I wanted to do. Even though my heritage is Irish, sticking to the traditional songs would have been too restrictive. What I really love is rock 'n' roll."
Some reviewers have pointed out that the album has a Celtic sensibility, if not a Celtic sound. Lyons credits that to her close relationship with her Irish-Canadian family. Growing up outside Toronto, the family moved back and forth between there and Ulster.
"Our family is not large, and whoever we worry about the most, we want to stay as close as we can to," she says. "So we lived in Ulster, a lot due to the health of my grandparents."
Speaking of family, it's important to note here that Lyons' family includes several generations of theater folk, including early 20th-century stage actress Leah Charles, and Charles Vance, the longest-running theater producer in London. But even with that heritage, and with her early love of music, songwriting and poetry, Lyons says her family was nevertheless blown away by her sudden success.
"They've always been very supportive," she says, "but to tell you the truth, my parents can't really believe it. It's hard enough for me to believe, but they're really impressed. I've been very lucky. My father used to always tell me 'the world's your oyster,' and I grew up believing that."
All the farms I remember from growing up in North Idaho and Eastern Washington were not what you'd call stylish. In fact, what I do remember are blocky sofas covered in that ubiquitous mauve upholstery, copper Jell-O molds lining the kitche
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