Tracy Byrd Biography

17 December 1966, Beaumont, Texas, USA. Neo-traditionalist country singer Byrd paid $8 to sing Hank Williams’ ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ over a pre-recorded backing track in a shopping mall. The store manageress was so impressed by Byrd’s voice that she booked him for a talent show. On that show he sang ‘Weary Blues’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. He began a residency with Mark Chesnutt, at a local club Cutters and when Chestnutt began to have some chart success, Byrd formed his own band and took over the residency. He signed with MCA Records in 1992 and had to wait a year before he fitted in with their release schedule.

Byrd’s first records were honky tonk in the George Strait mould, but he has gradually found his own voice, starting with a remake of Johnny Paycheck’s ‘Someone To Give My Love To’ in 1993. His major breakthrough came with the number 1 country hit ‘Holdin’ Heaven’. He further established himself with ‘Why Don’t That Telephone Ring’ the same year. No Ordinary Man (1994) consolidated the success of his debut, spawning the hits ‘Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous’, ‘Watermelon Crawl’ and ‘The First Step’, and a third collection Love Lessons (1995) was also well received. Further hit singles came with ‘Love Lessons’ and ‘Keeper Of The Stars’, as Byrd attempted (alongside the likes of fellow Beaumont singer Clay Walker) to establish himself at the forefront of contemporary country. Big Love (1996) and I’m From The Country (1998) were two solid, reliable albums that nevertheless failed to hoist Byrd into the same league as Garth Brooks.

Byrd crossed over to RCA Records for 1999’s It’s About Time, which diluted his traditional country twang with misguided forays into a pop-orientated style. The more conventional country of Ten Rounds (2001) and The Truth About Men (2004) continued his run of highly successful albums, with the former spawning his second country chart-topper, ‘Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo’. Byrd ended his tenure with RCA following the release of The Truth About Men, and switched to independent status for the release of 2006’s Different Things.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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