Why folk music? Why not?

Tracy Newman writes and sings the lyrics to her life, helped out by her band, the Reinforcements.

February 21, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Tracy and her band: Gene Lippmann, John Cartwright, Tracy, Doug Knoll and Rebecca Zoe Leigh at Butler's Coffee in Palmdale.
Tracy and her band: Gene Lippmann, John Cartwright,… (Photo by Pam Vick )

Sneakers, drugs and everyday life. That's what Tracy Newman's albums are made of.

"I usually mention tennis shoes and some kind of drug in my CDs," she said. "I was dating a guy whose tennis shoes were all over the place and I was always tripping on them."

Her ex also dabbled in the occasional substance. So she wrote about it.

The Emmy Award-winning TV writer turned singer-songwriter will be in Laguna Beach on Tuesday. Tracy Newman and the Reinforcements are poised to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. at the Marine Room Tavern to perform well-known acoustic tunes, along with new songs.

A familiar face at weekly writing classes, Newman embraces every assignment as an opportunity to produce newly crafted lyrics. Although she has a fine-tuned aversion for the initial stages of songwriting — staring at a blank page is the worst part — rewriting, editing and finding the perfect word is a lot of fun, she says.


Newman burst onto the folk music scene in 2004 and released "A Place in the Sun" in 2007. Every one of that album's 10 songs reflected the Los Angeles resident's creative élan. Honing in on the details, she pieced together, and then sang about, character sketches of her sister, a waffle chef and others.

"I have letters from fans who have put the CD in their cars and they listen to it everyday," said Newman, 70, recalling a feeling of invincibility upon the creation of what she deemed a "perfect CD."

Alternately, the lyrics of all 11 songs on her newest album "I Just See You," which hit the market in September, offer a glimpse into Newman's kaleidoscope of experiences — as a woman, lover, wife and mother. This venture took five years to complete because it caused worry at every step, be it flow, song order or set list, she said.

Although the album was ready to go before 2010, Newman was stymied.

"I was insecure," she said. "I actually recorded 30 songs to get the 11 songs on the CD. I love every song, but I couldn't come up with an order I liked. I kept redoing vocals. I love the end product, but it was not an easy birth. My next CD will be very easy. I think I learned that it's not life or death, you know? I love all the recordings, so maybe someone else will too."

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