By Bob Gordon
Blues at Bridgetown holds a lot of memory and meaning for singer/songwriter, Tracey Barnett, from bug-eyed kid to bona-fide performer.
“I’ve been attending the festival since the first one in 1993!” she exclaims. “It’s the first place I experienced John Butler’s music and it blew my mind. I had never thought of acoustic guitar as being as awesome as electric at that stage of my teenage angst, but in him I saw my worlds collide, felt a place where my eclectic music tastes united and my passion for the environment had a place. It was a very profound moment for me. I no longer felt alone.”
Since then Barnett has evolved as a musician and performer, playing at not only her beloved Blues at Bridgetown, but festivals all over the country. It’s become a way of life.
“All the people involved in festivals are passionate music appreciators and that makes for a special energy,” she notes. “From the volunteers to the sound and lighting crew, the musicians, the punters, everyone puts in hours well beyond what the human body should be capable of but it’s like the music fuels them to keep going, their sheer desire to be part of the magic of live music.
“I always feel I can get up and be my best self – knowing that it will be appreciated 110 per cent.”
Barnett’s music fits in snugly with the blues and roots vibes that are so popular at regional festivals around the country. It does, however, also come from a very individual place.
“Aaaaaall over the place!” Barnett laughs. “I have a definite blues influence that people hear but I come from a strong grunge, rock and alternative metal background. That along with being raised by parents who love country music has made for an interesting blend. I guess I’m ‘Australian Roots Music’.”
To her pride and surprise, Barnett was awarded 2018 ‘Best Regional Act’ at the WAM (West Australian Music) Awards, last year but she says it’s often “the little moments that glow the brightest.
“Not so long ago I performed to a small crowd in Albury and there were people singing along to all my previously released songs… it blew my mind and touched me deeply. When people tell me how one of my songs has helped them through a dark time or young girls come up and say, ‘I want to play guitar like you someday’ that is also pretty profound.
“I never imagined people would connect with my music so strongly, that my music could have such a positive influence. It’s a very emotional wave that passes me over in those moments.”
Much of 2019 has seen Barnett focussed on recording a new album with producer, James Newhouse, and the momentum for its 2020 release is already gathering steam.
“I feel like I’ve really come into my own with this album,” she says, “that my authentic self is shining through very boldly. The first single, Gotta Get Out, has been released and kicked off a tour of WA. Blues at Bridgetown is my hometown celebration of the release for this tour. I’m so excited to share it!
“I have a tour over East brewing for March, and another single will drop early next year. The new album will be out around August/September followed by a national tour. So it’s a big and exciting year ahead for me!”
Which leaves us with Barnett’s forthcoming Blues at Bridgetown return…
“For the first time ever I will be performing as trio,” the B@B veteran says. “I am so honoured to be working with two extremely talented musicians, Tanya Ransom and Brendan Clarke, whom are friends as well as musicians so it will be a very warm, genuine vibe on stage with a lot of fun and energy. We just love playing music and playing together is the icing on the cake so let’s binge together! See ya’s at the Blues.”
Tracey Barnett performs on Sunday, November 10, from 10-11am at Blue Owl’s Nest.