It’s the word we learned about in the past months and years. I don’t remember if it came about due to the coronavirus shutdowns or a little earlier, but it is definitely a term we all now know. Sometimes it’s just to kill time, but sometimes it’s a desperate feeling need for more information on something or any kind of connection through that little window in your hands. For a musician, the pandemic has allowed a bit of a respite, but as last summer went on and the winter season drove us back inside without much for stages to safely play on the respite for many turned into a true loss. Besides the mindless scrolling out of simply being home, there has so much to be worried about. This year gave us elections, protests, bombings, a viral pandemic, and then some. This was the kind of year when we all needed the escape, and we have only been able to get so close to let music help lift the weight. I can’t help but take notice that I am typing this review while watching my friends play music on YouTube, which is the screen I’ve spent the most time on some days.
Music isn’t just playing the song. It’s about locking a band in together in harmony, and then adding an audience of people to feed the energy back. It’s about playing the music for a newly married couple’s first dance, or to help a church mourn a loss, or to take away our everyday burdens for a little while over food and drinks. Technology has allowed all of us to adapt in some unfamiliar ways and then some new ones altogether when it comes to work or even simple conversation. People who work and play in the music world have turned to online performances of varying lengths. Instagram reels and TikToks show off all kinds of clever producing and editing that I probably would not have come across before, and it’s easy to get sucked in.
Which brings us to Jake and Andy Tracy’s song, “Still.” Both brothers are writers, singers, and multi-instrumentalists, so they knew how to stitch together different tracks and add layers after sending them to each other. Andy Tracy shoots the video from the perspective of a guy trapped at home, staring at screens all day. “My mind is never alone,” he sings, while he bops along with headphones tuning out his surroundings. Whether he’s inside or outside, at a table or in bed, the phone is there - the window to the world outside. I love the scenes with Jake Tracy playing the saxophone, as the melodies from outside play off of Andy’s feeling of four walls closing in on him. If you’re an Instagram fan, see if you can find the guy who adds unnecessary saxophone solos to pop songs. It makes every song better, and this video gives me that kind of vibe. Andy’s song by itself would be much more melancholy, but with the saxophone there becomes a groove that helps the song crawl into your ear and stay there after it’s done playing. The musical layers are well-produced and show a lot of versatility not just in what instruments the duo can play but their ability to arrange and mix as well.
The daily grind is pretty un-glamorous. Without music and arts we find ourselves wishing for more connection and purpose but instead we find ourselves settling for perseverance. It won’t be long before we’re in the sunshine again. Sleepy Andy Tracy plays drums with a band called Highly Likely and they will surely be out on stage when the sun shines. Andy plays some shows on his own sometimes and occasionally joins friends like yours truly for bluesy folk gigs as well. Sleepy Andy Tracy’s “Still” can be found on YouTube and Bandcamp along with other music. Check him out!