Tracy Shedd tunes up for release of a fresh single
A lifelong love of music started for local recording artist TRACY SHEDD at age 5, when she began playing the piano. It was the first of many instruments Shedd has played through the years. By the early 1990s, she had added guitar to her repertoire, which introduced her to a new love – her husband, JAMES TRITTEN. Today, she and Tritten own Fort Lowell Records, a Wilmington-based record label they started in 2009 while living in Tucson, Arizona.
Shedd’s solo career took off in 1998, when she moved to Boston and recorded her first album, “Blue.” Since 1999, Shedd has shared the stage with well-known acts, and she has opened and toured with some of her all-time favorite bands like The Magnetic Fields, Cat Power, Cyndi Lauper, Howe Gelb, and Trembling Blue Stars. “Too many to list, but I cherish them all,” she says. Until 2019, Shedd mostly released albums of her work, but her approach has shifted in recent years. “We are in the middle of what marked a new era when we started releasing singles. We also have incorporated more synthesizers and drum machines,” she says.
Her new single, “Let It Ride,” will be officially released on Friday, August 18 and she debuted the song in July – her first performance in a year. “The lyrics represent what’s for you won’t pass you by, trusting the process, and not rushing it,” she says. Like the meaning behind the lyrics themselves, the song emerged organically for Shedd. “The song came from testing out a guitar for our new tape machine and in the process, I wrote a song. We recorded the guitar part that day and slowly I started writing lyrics to go with it. A few months later I recorded the vocals.”
Shedd’s influences and artistic inclinations have progressed naturally over the years. The roots of Shedd’s current approach can be traced back to 2015, when she and Tritten started a synth project called Band and The Beat. “It was just the two of us and we restricted ourselves to only playing synths (mostly analog) and a drum machine, no guitars,” Shedd says. “It was eye-opening. I would start a song on the guitar, most of the time, and then would transpose it to the piano. It taught me that just because a song starts one way, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. It created a lot more freedom in my writing.”
Fort Lowell Records presents another outlet for Shedd’s love of music. She and Tritten launched the label in response to the local talent they saw while living in Tucson. “We wanted to help them have a platform to get their music out,” she says. “It’s so great to see the label still flourishing here in Wilmington with all the amazing local talent.” Today, the label is fully enmeshed in its new community. Fort Lowell’s This Water is Life project is a self-sustained and ongoing vinyl series of split EPs with two express purposes: to highlight new hip-hop and indie rock music from Southeastern North Carolina, as well as to provide a platform for Cape Fear River Watch and Coastal Plain Conservation Group to deliver up-to-date authoritative reports on the health of the Cape Fear River Basin for both human beings and wildlife.
Shedd describes the Wilmington music scene as vibrant and lively. “Although we didn’t move here until 2018, we have played shows in Wilmington since 2001. We are happy to be a part of it and to see it still thriving,” she says. In addition to Shedd’s releases and the couple’s work at Fort Lowell Records, you can catch the duo DJing at Satellite Bar and Lounge on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 p.m. Called Let’s Tuesday, Shedd and Tritten spin some of their favorite songs. “It’s a chill nice place to have a taco at Block Taco attached to the bar and listen to us spin some vinyl from our personal collection,” she says. Also, mark the calendars for February 24, when Shedd will perform at Bourgie Nights with friends Dead Cool.
Fort Lowell Records
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.