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  Tracy Walker
Tracy Walker "I may work with other people for the rest of my life. I want to prove myself away from Ain't Helen. It's kind of like being 18 and leaving the house; although, I'm not leaving the house I'm just going to 'college.' " - singer/songwriter/musician Tracy Walker in 1997

Prophetically, Tracy Walker is now a college graduate. On April 10, Walker disbanded the 5-year-old original Folk/Rock group Ain't Helen, setting upon a path of solo musical discoveries soon to result in Naked, her first solo recording on Gallimaufry Records.

Along the way, Walker has fortified her penchant for delivering simple, ironic lyrics against a backdrop of likewise simple and melodic music. Adhering to the philosophy that growth emerges from experimentation, Walker continues to share local stages with musicians as disparate as New Orleans/Boogie-Woogie pianist/vocalist Ricky Nye and Blues guitarist/vocalist Kelly Richey.

"I think I'll always be this hodgepodge, stylistically,'' Walker says of her musical forays. But, I think I'm headed toward a style that shows musically, but allows my voice to be where it should be. "I don't think my guitar playing is my forte. I think my voice is my forte," she says. "Certain arrangements of songs and certain band formations have not allowed that to be the case."

However, critics and judges have rewarded what fans have known all along: Walker, new in many respects to the mostly Blues and cover band local music scene, has a soaring alto voice that demands attention. Walker beat out stiff competition to be named Best Singer/Songwriter in the 1997 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards sponsored by Cincinnati CityBeat, the city's leading weekly newspaper of arts and issues. Ironically, near the end of its existence, Ain't Helen was nominated for a Cincinnati Enquirer Pop Music Award in the Alternative Rock Band category with the likes of Monk former IRS recording artists Over the Rhine.

As for Walker's solo work, she says the solo categorization is a misnomer. For the recording of Naked, Walker has enlisted bassist Tom Pistler, drummer Aimee R. Huber and an assortment of Cincinnati-area Jazz and Blues musicians. The disc will comprise two re-recorded Ain't Helen staples - "Friends and Lovers" and "Would You Be Mine?" - set to different arrangements and instrumentation. All other compositions will be original Walker tunes.

According to Walker, "Naked" is a perfect description of her current musical state and therefore an apt title of her first recorded outing sans Ain't Helen. "The reason 'Naked' is a good title is because I feel very exposed, stepping out from what, for years, has been a very safe presentation. "Although now I'm looked upon as a solo artist, I'd like to develop a band and not in the way that Ain't Helen was,'' she says. "I'd like to put together people who are dedicated and who are not trapped in one style and not only willing, but driven, to do more than they already do."
In short, Walker seeks like-minded people unafraid to get naked with her.

Additional info can be found at tracywalker.com

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