Primary Instrument: Harmonica
Whether it's Blues, Swing, Jazz, Roots or Folk, vintage or contemporary, lead or harmony vocals and harmonica for a wide variety of projects, Tracy K has earned her valued reputation as a respected vocalist and musician. Tracy K's harmonica adventure began in 1982, but “the real treat is Tracy K's voice - well controlled, and gritty as a whisky-soaked hobnail - Jeremy Loomes, Edmonton Sun, 2007 Raised on the Manitoba prairies, Tracy K wrote her first song at the age of eight. Considered Canada's only female virtuoso harmonica player she has come a long way since then, winning awards for her skills as a singer, songwriter, harmonica player and performer. Tracy K can be experienced live in many formats, two of which were recorded by CBC Canada Live in 2008. Since 2000, her name has been a main stage attraction, sharing stages and playbills with great legends and exciting newcomers.
Her Right Hand Band was formed in 2000 - be ready for an incredible live show fortified by the rarity of a female delivering show-stopping amplified blues harp. This four piece high-energy blues and roots-rock project was nominated as Best Electric Act in 2006 by Winnipegblues.com and has appeared in two Hollywood movies. Each member possesses awards of achievement and boast lengthy touring and performance resumes spanning genres and geographical borders. Their show delivers Tracy K's originals and choice covers of Chicago, Texas and West Coast flavour colored with early rock and jazz influences. Fans have been asking for the return of Tracy K and her Right Hand Band since they levelled the joint during her 2003 appearance at the festival. Her blues harp style and Joplin-esque vocals make her a must-see! - Gary Krochak, the Regina Leader Post, 2007.
Tracy K is also a commendable jazz singer, whose repertoire of swing jazz can be heard in duo with her guitarist Tony Desmarteau, and expanded to trio, quartet and full jazz band formats. She also performs vintage blues with duo partner Jamie Snakeman Steinhoff on slide, dobro, and fingerstyle. Based out of Thunder Bay, they were thrilled to give a winter private performance in the Carribean. The duo also proudly co-wrote and performed an epigrammatic tribute song, “This Axe is Your Axe” for CBC’s Jowi Taylor’s Six String Nation Guitar tour. They have shared workshop stages and concert billings with the likes of John Sebastian, Bill Bourne and Tim Williams to name a few, and were very well received at their Ontario Contact '08 showcase.
In a nutshell: Tracy K grew up in the tiny prairie town of Beausejour, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Childhood piano lessons led to making up songs and playing around on her brother’s guitar. As her musical interests developed with the British Invasion and psychedlic era, blues became her foundation. Citing Sonny Terry as her first harmonica influence, Tracy K started blowin' harp while backpacking Europe in 1982 on an old harmonica given to her by a Canadian soldier in Germany - a lifelong passion was born. Back in Winnipeg, she attempted a teaching degree in music and art, but was diverted by her musical calling. Tracy K spent the rest of the decade in Toronto, gaining experience in the studios and on the stages of the bustling Queen West indy music scene. Motherhood prompted a move back to the prairies in 1991 for an eight year maternity leave where she raised three children. In 1998 she began her solo musical journey, devoting and dividing her life to motherhood, developing her career, and working part time with special needs children in schools. In 2004, Tracy K moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and recorded her second album. Released in 2007, Old, New, Borrowed & Blues is produced by Toronto blues great Jack de Keyzer. Her songs are very well written, a seamless blend of blues, country and rock - not a surprise, perhaps, given the Thunder Bay / Winnipeg focus. - John Valenteyn, Maple Blues Magazine, 2007 A FEW of Tracy K's personal highlights include being the first female featured at the Toronto Blues Society's Harmonica Workshop; performing at their prestigious Women's Blues Revue; writing a song for a movie; writing and performing a song based on the novel Icefields for CBC Bandwidth's Canada Reads, Ontario Rocks 2008 radio concert; opening for James Cotton and sharing a playbill with Koko Taylor.
- Album Old, New, Borrowed & Blues ©2007- a fan influenced cd of ten originals and two covers, receiving international airplay on several blues programs and great reviews. Home of her 2007 International Songwriting Competition finalist tunes. - 3 Singles for Prairie Fire Project, Canadian Diabetes, 2003 - Single Rock This House ©2002, licensed to Zernick Von-Sertner Films, Los Angeles - a powerhouse funk-rock song custom written for the movie Scared Silent starring Penelope Ann Miller. - Album Welcome to my Fantasy©2000 - a 10 song all original cd release showcasing a collection of diverse songwriting in the blues/roots-rock spectrum, with airplay through Canada and the United States.
TRACY K & HER RIGHT HAND BAND
: Tracy K - vocals, harmonica, rhythm guitar
Tony Pops Desmarteau (Toronto, Ont.) - lead electric guitar, b.g. vocals
Bassist & Drummer vary by location
Tracy K - vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica
Jamie Snakeman Steinhoff - dobro and acoustic fingerstyle and slide guitars, vocals
- 2007 Ontario Independent Music Award for Best Blues
- 2007 International Songwriting Competition Award Recipient in BLUES and Performance
- 2007 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search First Runner Up
- 2006 WinnipegBlues.com Harmonica Player of the Year
- 2006 WinnipegBlues.com Female Vocalist of the Year
- Electric Act of the Year Nominee, Winnipegblues.com, 2006
Fans have been asking for the return of Tracy K and her Right Hand Band since she levelled the joint during her 2003 appearance at the festival. Her blues harp style and Joplin-esque vocals make her a must-see!- Gary Krochak, the Regina Leader Post, 2007
...a million voices seem to be trapped in that tiny little instrument and Tracy seems to know how to exorcise them in front of wowed crowds every time I see her play. It was my pleasure to invite Tracy K to the national 2007 'Canada Reads, Ontario Rocks' event where she composed a song that had some in tears! It was again my pleasure to record Tracy for Canada Live, as I hope the rest of the country discovers her talent LIVE on stage. - Alan Neal, host, Bandwidth (CBC Radio One), Canada Live (CBC Radio Two)
Tracy K plays a nice harmonica...the real treat is her voice, well-controlled and gritty as a whiskey soaked hobnail - Jeremy Loomes, Edmonton Sun, 2007 She's a sizzling vocal powerhouse, with style and an ability to move an audience. Tracy K and her Right Hand Band ROCKED the Rainbow!” - Jim Roy, Ottawa blues, jazz & swing guide
Tracy K wowed the crowd with her passion. Everyone was cheering and calling for more. Definitely an act to catch! - Rich Benson, Minneapolis Womens Blues Fest
Opening for James Cotton was Tracy K, whose performance confirmed why she was the best act at the first blues fest - Ken Wright, Thunder Bay Blues Society
Yes I declare I am a fan. That is what motivates me as a promoter to book Tracy K to audiences of 30,000 people; and most recently, Tracy and Jamie to an intimate evening of 200. They brought a passionate charm to their blues tradition and know what it takes to move an audience.” - Marv Terhoch, President, Terhoch Associates, Winnipeg, Manitoba
We are always very pleased to have Tracy K & Jamie Steinhoff play, as they draw a crowd from miles around. Their exceptional talent, wit, humour, day to day stories makes the duo appealing and keeps people coming back. - John Cox, Green Achers of Wabigoon, Ontario
Her songs are very well written, a seamless blend of blues, country and rock - not a surprise, perhaps, given the Thunder Bay / Winnipeg focus. - John Valenteyn, Maple Blues Magazine, 2007
Tracy K does a killer job on harp, something of a rarity for female performers in the genre. She has found a maturity where her lyrics match her vocals. - Calvin Daniels, Yorkton This Week, 2007
“...an impressive harmonica player, with a voice that commands your attention. Add her songwriting, her versatility, and her on-stage charisma and you've got someone special.” - www.canadianblues.ca
“Most noteworthy by far was blues harp wonder Tracy K’s soulful, raw harp deliveries.....a seasoned harp technique that effortlessly wowed and impressed the audience....sheer harp joy... ” - J.Curtis on the TBS/CBC Women’s Blues Revue
“Tracy K was outstanding!....she injected a high level of energy with grit, an integral part of her show ” - B.Bedesky on the TBS/CBC Womens Blues Revue for canadianblues.ca
”A stellar performance by Tracy K demonstrated that the century old vocal tradition of the blues is thriving.”- Thunder Bay Blues Fest
Tracy K is what music festivals are all about. - Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal