Clinton native Tracy Fallstrom is proving it’s never too late to pursue your passion with her debut album From the Heart.
Fallstrom, a vibrant 48-year-old and manager of the BC Liquor Store in Clinton, said she’s been writing and singing music since the age of five. This is all without any formal lessons, she added, and much of her experience comes from singing in church, memorials and weddings as a ballad singer.
“There comes a time to stretch and to start singing your own things and that’s kind of where I’m at at this point,” Fallstrom said.
What pushed her to record her own music came when the Chasm sawmill closed late last year and the Clinton Family Fun Day was staged as a pick-me-up in September to put a smile on the community’s face. Part of the event included a concert and to prepare, Fallstrom went into a local recording studio to record some backtracks for some family-friendly song covers.
The studio was Mainsail Sound, owned by fellow musician Dana Barnes. As they finished recording the covers, he began to suggest they try recording some of her own original songs too. Barnes was able to provide Fallstrom “beautiful backtracks” to accompany her lyrics, she said, as well as working on production and sound engineering for the album.
“Seven months later we come out with 10 beautiful tracks that we’re both satisfied with that are original. It’s been such a whirlwind and an amazing collaboration,” Fallstrom said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Part of the reason she pursued making an album, Fallstrom said, is that her granddaughter will soon be five and is also a little singer. “Nana had to get up there and show her it’s all possible,” Fallstrom said.
As a whole, music to her has a lot to do with healing and experiencing joy, grief and a deep connection to the world and others. Fallstrom said we all have an inner voice, unique to ourselves, and for her, that inner voice is a lullaby, many of which have gone on to become the bigger songs on her album.
The name of the album From the Heart comes from the fact that ever since she was a little girl she’s been told she always sings from the heart. It felt fitting to Fallstrom to recognize the fact that she was sharing songs from her heart with the community.
As a result, the CD does not conform to one specific genre and is instead more focused on Fallstrom sharing parts of herself and the history of Clinton. For example, the track Cariboo Wind was written for her father, an old cowboy who left Alberta for Clinton and is about leaving, changing and being drawn back to, the places that mean the most to us. Clinton is that place for her, Fallstrom said, a place to call home and where, pre-COVID, a handshake is still good, and its expressed in her music.
Real Man, meanwhile, was written for her boyfriend and every other real man out there. She said some of her friends have already enjoyed singing to their own husbands and boyfriends. One of the songs, Jenny, was written in honour and memory of a young local woman named Jennifer Begley, who was a “bright young soul” who moved away and eventually passed away while doing a job she loved.
Fallstrom’s favourite song on the track, because she likes to dance, is Springtime Rain, a song that reminds her to breathe and, even though life can be stressful we need to sometimes let our worries go. The song takes inspiration from dance, folk and Celtic sound which balances out the more edgy soft rock music of Evil Twin and Use Me.
“I never write without a melody in mind. I know there are many lyricists that write one or the other, I don’t know why but this is just the only way I’ve written (music),” Fallstrom said.
With another album in the works, Fallstrom wanted to recognize the “many hands” who helped her make her first one. These include Dana Barnes for helping produce the album and Brian Barnes for the graphic design of the album cover.
The album is currently available only through Fullstrom, though she’s working on finding an outlet to sell them. They are available by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org, her Facebook page tracyfallstrommusic or her profile Tracy Fallstrom. From the Heart goes for $20 an album, $25 if Fallstrom has to ship it.
Fallstrom encourages other prospective musicians and musical artists to pursue their passion now more than ever.
“Music really is a ripple, it’s a healer, you won’t just have yourself to heal it’s everybody else as well, so I would say the time is now because tomorrow never comes,” Fallstrom said. “Enjoy our moments, never give up and you’re never too old.”