For Tracy McNeil and her cracking band The GoodLife, 2020 was to be the year. The year that she cast off the shackles of day to day life and pursue her music career full time.
And then COVID happened, proving the famous John Lennon lyric: ‘life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’
“Dan [Parsons] and I sold all our furniture, we quit our jobs and got in the van. My new record was coming out in February, we were going to tour Canada and the rest of the year was all about touring with The GoodLife here in Australia,” Tracy told Newcastle Live.
“So we were in Melbourne and it was looking like everything was going to lock down and Dan’s family, who is in Brisbane, said: ‘we reckon you guys should start driving up here.’ So we literally made a decision while at a free campground to pack our stuff and start driving – two days later they closed the border.
“We would have been stuck in Melbourne in the winter living in a van with no job and no touring. We were very lucky.”
Despite 2020 being all but a complete write off touring wise for Tracy and the GoodLife (alongside pretty much every other musician on the planet, it most definitely had its ups.
Not least of which the fact that her cracking fifth studio album You Be The Lightning picked up an ARIA nomination for Best Blues and Roots Album as well as taking home the Best Country Album gong at the VIC Music Awards.
Following on from Thieves, You be The Lightning continues in the same trajectory revelling in a heart-on-sleeve alt-country songwriting with a pop sensibility executed perfectly by her brilliant backing band The GoodLife (Dan Parsons, Brendan McMahon, Bree Hartley, and Craig Kelly)
The album’s singles Stars, Not Like A Brother, Catch You and Match To The Rock also enjoyed considerable airplay on ABC Radio and Double J.
“One of the cool things that has happened is that when you release a record normally, you release a couple of singles, then the album and people come along to a show maybe knowing a couple of songs,” Tracy said.
“But everyone has had pretty much a whole year to listen to this record so now when we play shows people know every song and have already formed a relationship with the record which is something new for me and really quite special.”
Catch Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife at The Stag and Hunter on Friday 4 June. Get your tickets here. Tickets are still available but are selling fast so get yours now!