Friday, November 14, 2008

Goodbyes, Part 2

(This is a continuation of previous entry, and the following content was originally part of that post.)

The past two years have provided many reasons to reflect and prioritize (refer to previous entry, "Goodbyes"). Spending time with my loved ones is definitely a priority to me now.

Consequently, I have made a decision to change the nature of my musical life for the indefinite future. This decision is to allow me to heal emotionally and physically from the effects of an increasing lack of balance and a blurring of life vision in the last several years, since beginning my career as a singer-songwriter. Sadly, the nature of independent music in today's world requires a 24/7 effort in marketing plus a plethora of other tasks and details and trivialities that do not involve picking up an instrument or singing. For me, that leaves far too little time for music, let alone for other things in life.

I will always have music in my life in one form or another, even if just in my living room. But for me, making music a "business" has removed the joy and steadily drained my creative energy. I applaud those who are more energetic (younger!), or have the resources to accomplish the marketing and booking work via outsourcing. There are many fine artists out there who enrich our world with great music.

I appreciate the strong support I have had from terrific fans at live performances and through Internet sites and music sales over the years. I may record and publish some new material for digital release in the future and may perform from time to time in informal settings but I am not seeking bookings and will probably not be updating websites/profiles regularly.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I said goodbye to my longtime best friend (for more than 30 years), Mary Ann Kyles Ingram, on October 30, 2008. She lived with cancer for over 2 years. I say "lived with cancer," because that is exactly what she did.

She was just 45 years old, mother to six terrific children (ages 5 to 19) and a devoted wife. She packed at least 10 years worth of living into the last 26 months and was a wonderful role model to everyone for treating each day as a gift. She gave her all to her children, homeschooling them plus being a scout leader, dance coach, sports mom (basketball, judo and more), and in providing them many opportunities to make friends and explore all kinds of activities from piano lessons to Gavel Club to designing computer games. And she and her husband have raised their children in a very faith-centered household as well. Her children have thus been empowered to live up to their full potential with confidence, honor, dignity, and compassion, and with a sense of balance.

I was very fortunate to be able to visit Mary Ann frequently during her illness, so a blessing for me has been in getting to know her children better and forming bonds with them. It was an honor and a privilege to be with her family, around her bed, when Mary Ann drew her last breath.

Another blessing has been the opportunity to learn from Mary Ann's example. The last 2+ years have been a time of much reflection for me in terms of examining priorities and looking at issues of life balance.

I lost another good friend in May to a tragic murder, and my grandmother passed away in July. Now there are others very close to me with serious health concerns. More reasons to reflect and prioritize.

Continuation/more in next entry, "Goodbyes, Part 2..."


Friday, October 3, 2008

Rehab and other musings

OK, so it's official, I have the proper "bio" for a real musician these days. I am in rehab. Yup, me and Amy Winehouse, we be tight.


Well, OK, so it's PHYSICAL rehab, for my back, so maybe that doesn't count and won't get me on A&E. (For the record, I do not use drugs of any kind, I don't even like over-the-counter stuff, and rarely even drink, so I'm guess I'm too boring for this biz.)

As for my back...A few of you kind folks have been asking. I have some sacroiliac joint dysfunction, apparently, which has been a bit of an ongoing issue for a couple of years and put me into spasms in early August. After a bunch of expensive tests and a lot of radiation exposure, anything really nasty has been ruled out (yay!). I have found a great chiropractic/rehab clinic (Healthsource in Fitchburg WI) that is helping me get past this. So, thanks to Dr. Stacy and Dr. Dean, and also to my exercise therapist, Beth, I hope to be back to 100% before long, and even hope to resume belly dancing classes soon. (TMI?)

I highly recommend chiropractic if you have back problems!!

While we're on the topic of alternative health...let me put in a plug also for ACUPUNCTURE and herbal remedies for nasal congestion - from allegies or colds or whatever. I had a really rough time last winter and spring with what is apparently just "nonallergic rhinitis," meaning I have a fussy nose for some reason that is easily irritated by things that don't bother most people. I could not breathe out of my nose for about 3 months, but allergy testing and even a CAT scan revealed no apparent cause. After reluctantly trying all kinds of things and medicines suggested and prescribed by doctors (ENT, allergist, and regular doc), I was still hopelessly clogged. Desperate, I tried acupuncture, and after the VERY FIRST visit, with needle treatment and a couple of relatively inexpensive herbs, my nose was dry as a bone within an HOUR after that. I kid you not - it was nothing short of a miracle and sure made a believer of me. I had a few more treatments and now if I start sneezing or clogging up (I have learned that there are chemical triggers, like FeBreeze), I take a single capsule of one of those herbs and that takes care of me for days. Problem completely solved. No inhalers, no steroids, and no antihistamines daily as the docs were saying I would need -- just one little green herb capsule maybe once a week.

I promise I do not get kickbacks from any alternative healthcare providers. Those who know me know that I am NOT a fan of western medicine and I have had more of doctors and tests this year than I ever wanted to have in a lifetime...all for nothing. The only 2 useful healthcare providers I have seen this year have been the chiropractors and the acupuncturist. Next time, I'll skip the "modern medicine" route!

Oh - music stuff...
I am mostly on hiatus and that has been largely due to the need to attend to my own health and reduce stress where possible, but also because I have been spending time with my dearest friends and relatives in the Carolinas. There are a couple of very serious illnesses among my clan down there, plus two deaths in recent months (a longtime friend in May, and my grandmother in July). The folks who are now ill are two of the most special people in my life -- my best friend since junior high, Mary Ann, and my Aunt Jane. These two beautiful women are the folks most responsible for my becoming a musician, and what I owe them on so many levels is immeasurable. If you are the praying sort, your prayers for them would be welcome.

I do have gigs coming in on FRIDAY OCTOBER 10 (Oregon Arts Festival, solo show) and in early DECEMBER (a Christmas concert, with Michael Bryant and Randy Green). Watch my site for details --


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Special new video posted on YouTube channel

My beautiful and very dear cousin Sherry and her beau "Mr. Bill" got married yesterday (08/08/08)! In honor of this occasion I made and dedicate a special pictorial video of my mushy love song, "Perfectly," penned several years ago for my own husband. The words fit Sherry and Bill perfectly also (pun intended).

You can view the video on YouTube. If you are the sentimental sort (like me!) you may want to grab a tissue first...

Here's to the happy couple!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bad news, good news

Hi all - When it rains it monsoons, huh??
First the BAD news...I'm so sorry to report that I injured my back (ugh) this morning, and am on bedrest for at least a few days...Hopefully it is just a muscle spasm (that's what they are treating it as - thanks for the ride to Urgent Care, Darlene!). I will have some follow-up next week. But I'm rather immobile at the moment. So the upshot is that I have had to cancel our shows tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday). I am so sorry that you'll miss the chance to hear my fabulous colleagues, Michael Bryant and Randy Green, who were doing these shows with me.

But now the GOOD news...The shows go on!
(1) FRIDAY at Gov. Nelson State Park, the awesome acoustic duo of Amy Curl & Dan Kennedy will perform! It will be well worth your time, so head on out.

(2) SATURDAY for Folk on State - The fabulous and fun-loving duo of Small Potatoes will perform both sets (1:00 and 2:00) instead of just playing the 2nd set.

Thanks a bunch to these musical pals for keeping things rolling...please go, and bring friends!!! Details for these shows are still posted at my site, at

OTHERWISE: As mentioned in an earlier email, I'll be on an indefinite break from performing for a while now (starting a couple of days sooner than expected!). I do have one appearance on September 13 as part of "Country Cornucopia" at Art in the Barn (Fitchburg, WI) supporting Nelson Graham, so maybe I'll see you there? Otherwise...please continue to support local indie music!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

News from Tracy Jane Comer (last for a while!)

Hi y'all - FIRST...A reminder about this Saturday's show (July 19) in Cambridge, WI with my good pals Michael Bryant and Randy Green. It will be an evening of variety and fun instrumentation including my new electric cello, which I play standing up with a shoulder harness (tons of fun). You can be among the first to answer the question, "Does this cello make me look fat?"
Advance reservations are highly recommended....
full details here.

I am going to be taking a long break from performing, after my Sept. 13 appearance (see below). I have a few things on the schedule until then, but otherwise have canceled shows and touring plans for the near future. The Likely Stories CD will still be released hopefully by mid-September...I will post news about that when there is definite news. Otherwise -- Below are are my final shows for a while - follow links for full details in printable form.

July 19 (Sat), 2008 - 7 pm
Cambridge, WI - The Oscar H. Hanson House and The Zen Gallery Gallery present:
Trio show with Tracy Jane Comer, Michael Bryant and Randy Green

July 26 (Sat), 2008 - 7:30 pm
Madison, WI - UW Memorial Union -- 2008 MAMAs Winner Showcase
Tracy Jane Comer & Randy Green play starting at 7:30 pm.
(Multiple acts performing one-hour sets between 5 pm and midnight on Friday and Saturday.)

August 1 (Fri), 2008 - 7 pm
Madison, WI - Gov. Nelson State Park - Friday Night Folk Jamboree series
Trio show with Tracy Jane Comer, Michael Bryant and Randy Green

August 2 (Sat), 2008 - 1:00 pm
Madison, WI - Downtown State Street - "Folk on State" series
Trio show with Tracy Jane Comer, Michael Bryant and Randy Green (Also performing: Small Potatoes)

September 12 (Fri), 2008 - TENTATIVE DATE
Likely Stories CD Release Party; details TBA

September 13 (Sat), 2008 - 7 pm
Fitchburg, WI - "Art in the Barn" concert series
"Country Cornucopia" with Graham & Company, Tracy Jane Comer, LJ Booth, and Rising Gael


Saturday, July 12, 2008


Sorry for late notice...But the venue (Project Lodge, Madison) just notified us about 30 minutes ago that due to unforeseen circumstances they are canceling the show tonight (July 12). No other information was given.

I doubt we will want to reschedule at this venue (hmmm) but look for another co-bill between Likely Stories and Amy Curl/Dan Kennedy in the near future - we were really looking forward to sharing a show with them! Also Likely Stories will be planning our CD Release Party soon...stay tuned.

Have a great evening - sorry for any inconvenience!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

3 is a Magic Number!

Related shows (3-way collaborations) - see for details on shows:
  • July 12, 2008 - Likely Stories performing at Project Lodge in Madison, WI
  • July 19, 2008 - Tracy Jane Comer/Michael Bryant/Randy Green performing for Hanson House concert series, Cambridge, WI
  • August 1, 2008 - Tracy Jane Comer/Michael Bryant/Randy Green performing at Gov. Nelson State Park in Madison, WI
  • August 2, 2008 - Tracy Jane Comer/Michael Bryant/Randy Green performing for "Folk on State," Madison, WI
  • Late summer or early fall: CD RELEASE PARTY to be scheduled for LIKELY STORIES debut CD!

"3 is a Magic Number" seems to be the recurrent theme in my musical world. I have been privileged to be part of some very fine trios and 3-way collaborations over the years, and in the coming weeks I have shows involving a couple of my active collaborations.

A group of 3 can mean several things; for instance, it can be a group with one frontman who has a couple of sidemen playing along. BUT, the type of collaboration I like best is when 3 individual writers each contribute songs and get together to work out arrangements. This way the audience gets to hear each participant's music and result can be a very satisfying diversity.

As a multi-instrumentalist, I particularly enjoy these "in-the-round" style collaborations (i.e., trading off the lead) because it gives me a chance to play different instruments -- like lots of cello, some dulcimer, keyboard, sometimes fiddle etc., and I play some different styles of guitar as well including some lead lines and even some electric guitar. I thrive on variety, and I get that by combining forces with other writers.

Here are highlights of current collaborations (ones with upcoming shows):
  • Tracy Jane Comer/Nancy Rost/Dave Schindele - A.K.A. "LIKELY STORIES"
    We are all "solo" artists with our own performing schedules, but try to perform as a group every few months and we get together fairly regularly to play. We have been working together for a couple of years and actually have a CD that will be coming out very soon!
    In this collaboration I sing (lead and backing vocals) and play guitar, cello, sometimes melodica, piano, fiddle; Nancy sings and plays piano; and Dave sings (lead and backing vocals) and plays piano and hand drums.
    Both Dave and Nancy have very sophisticated and musical styles with superb lyrics -- they blow my mind with some of what they come up with. Folks who enjoy music as much for the poetry of the lyrics won't be disappointed. With Dave's music I often think of Carole King, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Baccarach and sometimes Peter Gabriel. Nancy is well versed (pun intended) in many styles and her music often takes on a jazz flavor. She often incorporates humor (overt or subtle) and/or outright zaniness...Nancy is full of great surprises!
    I count these two colleagues among the best writers I know. I have been very pleased with the arrangements we come up with together. From my standpoint, I get to make much use of the cello in both "regular" (bowed) and bass (plucked) roles, and their music is wonderful to play cello much so that I decided to buy an electric 5-string cello recently to expand my sound capabilities and increase the bass-playing capabilities (with the added low string).
  • Tracy Jane Comer/Michael Bryant/Randy Green -- This is an unnamed entity, but it follows the pattern of "in-the-round with collaboration." This group is myself (guitar, cello, vocals) with two of my longest-term musical colleagues, Michael Bryant (guitar, vocals, bass), former frontman for now-defunct group Sticky Fingers, and Randy Green (keyboard, guitar, vocals), who often performs as supporting artist with me but who is a musician/writer in his own right in addition to being my producer, manager, and co-writer. Again, this combination brings a lot of diversity to the table and lets my try out some different instruments and instrumental styles.
    Michael has an unforgettable voice, smooth as silk and reminiscent of the late Dan Fogelberg, and he writes wonderful and very memorable, infectious (in a good way!) songs. Michael and I were both part of former trio Sticky Fingers and have also done duo shows with him a number of times. Michael works by day as an audio/video software specialist with Sony Digital. Randy, who owns/runs Randy's Recording in Cottage Grove, has started writing again and performing some of his own material lately (after a break of many years) and so we have been working his songs into our duo act and also featuring Randy on lead vocals for some covers. Randy often brings a welcome levity to my shows with his distinctive style of humor, and that humor is reflected in some of his original songs as well. Other times his writing is philosophical and deep (not surprising if you know Randy).
    I think what we do together offers a pleasingly balanced "musical diet."
So - I plan to do more with these and other collaborations in the future...and hope to see some of you at upcoming shows!

Friday, June 20, 2008

First full tablature file now available!

OK, just for you guitar enthusiasts, I have finally posted the first full tablature file of one of my pieces. I started with "Movin' in the Right Direction" since that is the one I have had the most requests for. Others will follow, starting with more instrumental works. Let me know if you have a special request for any song's tab and I'll put it in the queue.
(NOTE: This piece requires both a full capo and a partial "Esus" capo...otherwise the tab will make no sense.)
Next in line: "Riffles and Runs." Or, let me know if you'd rather see something else up next instead! (Use CONTACT form on my web site or post a comment to this blog.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Selected chord charts and scores available now

For those of you who are musicians yourself...I have posted a mixed bag of scores and chord charts for some of my songs. See the MUSIC page of my web site ( and follow the link at the top for the LYRICS page. Later this year I plan to publish guitar tablature for my instrumental pieces plus some vocal tunes as well. Let me know if you would like a chart or more info on a song!

Friday, May 23, 2008

RIP, Sallie Jordan Rohrbach

Re: My previous post, I very sadly report that Sallie's remains were found and identified on May 21.

She will be sorely missed by many!

Her killer is in jail, being held without bond. It seems they have collected a fair amount of evidence quickly.

I have set up this little page with a few collected links:

Monday, May 19, 2008

A friend of mine is missing in NC: Sallie Jordan Rohrbach

Sallie Rohrbach of Angier, NC
I do not know if I have many readers of my blog or not, but on the off chance that this might be helpful if some of you readers are in my "home" area of North Carolina...A friend of mine from high school, Sallie Rohrbach (pictured at right) of Angier, NC (near Raleigh), is missing and now apparently presumed dead, since someone has been charged with her murder. She was last seen in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday May 14.

This appears to be a good page for the "big picture" of the story as it progresses:

I've posted a picture/info and some relevant links here:

Anyone who has information or has seen Sallie is asked to call the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at 704-336-2311 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Sallie is a lovely person -- very sweet, happy, funny, loving and kind. I hope everyone will offer some prayers or positive vibes for her well-being.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I was named INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR at the 2008 Madison Area Music Awards! [See some pics on the photos page of my web site - more coming soon!] This award was for my acoustic guitar work. A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who partcipated in the voting process for this year's MAMAs! The ceremony was a blast and I was very, very honored to receive the award. (Incidentally, I have been nominated five times previously in the MAMAs, but this was my first win. I'm glad it didn't take me quite as long as it took Susan Lucci to win an Emmy!)
Congrats also to... manager/producer Randy Green who was a winner with recording artist Robert J for the song that Randy wrote, "Home Movies," which won Folk/Americana Song of the Year.
...Ben Johnston-Urey (Classical Song and Classical Album) - Ben is my church bandmate (Cornerstone)
...the Mud Angels (Blues Artist, Blues Song, Female Vocalist - frontwoman and fellow Tar Heel Laura England) - I assisted Randy Green in the studio (Randy's Recording) during the recording of their latest album and am a big fan.
So...if you are looking for some great tunes, pick up the latest CDs from these artists! (See links above for Robert J or Mud Angels; Ben's CD is available at Ward Brodt in Madison or contact me for more purchase options.)
Thanks again for your support and help!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No foolin'...Nomination for BEST INSTRUMENTALIST in MAMAs

No foolin'...I am proud to announce that I'm a nominee in this year's Madison Area Music Award (MAMAs) for BEST INSTRUMENTALIST! The next round of voting will begin any minute now and go until early May...your support would be very much appreciated.

Also nominated is my manager/duo partner/cowriter and pal Randy Green - nominated for BEST RECORDING STUDIO. And, one of Randy's songs, "Home Movies, recorded this year by Robert J, is nominated under BEST FOLK-AMERICANA SONG.

Voting is open to the costs $5 to vote (done online) but the proceeds of this program benefit school music programs. In particular, the money raised helps to purchase instruments for school children and for after-school programs such as those run by the Boys and Girls Club. See these links to participate:
Broadjam (where you sign up to vote)
MAMAs site

NOTE: When you vote on the Broadjam site you'll have the chance to click and listen to music so please take time to sample the Madison music scene!
In addition to raising money for school music programs, that's what this is all about. It's easy to get swept up in the competition and all that, but the bottom line is that this is a chance for musicians and listeners to really get to know our local music scene. There are many wonderful musicians nominated in many categories, several that I have had the pleasure to work with, including the Mud Angels (blues song), Laura England (female vocalist), Ben Johnston-Urey (classical song, classical album), Robert J (a number of nominations), Subvocal (unique song, unique artist), Christine Costanzo (folk/Americana artist), Tret Fure (folk/Americana album)...and many others, so please use this opportunity to check them out, and vote for what you like best!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Compilation CD by Indie Music for Life

3/26/2008: I have a track on a new compilation CD put out by Indie Music for Life, an organization whose mission is "Fighting cancer one song at a time with the support of independent singer songwriters worldwide."

The CD is the 2008 Indie Music For Life compilation CD and you'll find it at this link:
It is a double disc set that features 37 artists/songs from around the world and retails for $12.

There are other projects/products available as well, and your purchases help support cancer research and IMFL's programs for educational awareness on the benefits of music and laughter as therapy to cancer patients. In addition to purchasing products you can also make donations through their site.