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Tracy Byrd to visit The Maryland Theatre

May 05, 1999

Tracy ByrdBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer




It wasn't until high school that Tracy Byrd realized singing was a special talent.

From the time he was about 5 years old, he would sing with the radio or records at home in Beaumont, Texas, the town where he still lives.

[cont. from lifestyle]

As he got older and started chiming in with George Strait and Merle Haggard tunes, his friends commented on how much he sounded like the artists he was imitating.

When crooning as a child, "I didn't really realize that everybody couldn't do it," he said in a telephone interview from inside his truck at home in Beaumont. During his last year in high school, though, he decided, "This might be something I might want to make a career out of."

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Byrd's first big break came when he took Mark Chesnutt's regular spot at Cutters, a honky-tonk in Beaumont. Then MCA took an interest in him after he performed at a showcase in Nashville in 1991.

In 1992, he made his debut with a self-titled album. His next release was "No Ordinary Man," which spent 30 weeks in the Top 10 country album charts. One song from that album, a ballad titled "The Keeper of the Stars," won the 1996 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year Award.

Byrd's next albums were "Love Lessons," "Big Love" and "I'm from the Country." He recently released a greatest- hits album titled "Keepers."

When he first started performing nationwide, Byrd was doing about 190 shows a year. But with a wife and two children at home now, he's whittled that number down to 100 this year.

"I like being home more than I like being on the road," says Byrd, 32, who has been married for seven years. He and his wife, Michelle, have a daughter, Evee, 4, and a son, Logan, 17 months.

Byrd has done some song-writing, but is drawn to singing: "It's a more natural thing for me," he says.

Right after he finishes an album, he starts the drawn-out process of selecting songs for the next one.

"I've just kind of got an ear for what a Tracy Byrd song is," he says.

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