Tracy Spuehler’s music is another of those gems I’ve found while casually surfing the Internet on some idle Monday evening. I was initially drawn to a photo of her with her guitar. Petite, pretty and wearing librarian-styled glasses, I originally thought she was Lisa Loeb. But after listening to her music, I quickly realized she wasn’t.
A native to the Los Angeles area, Spuehler spent several years as a violinist in the band, Pimentos For Gus. After the group disbanded in 1996, Spuehler moved back to Los Angeles from Minneapolis and took care of her ill mother. It was after her mother’s death a couple of years later that Spruehler began to write songs and ultimately, embarked on a solo career. She would see the release of her debut album, six three one, in 2001.
six three one served as the first step to what appears to be a strong and promising career in the world of music for Spuehler, as she has a particular knack for writing remarkable songs about family, lost loves, and life’s ups and downs. Highly reviewed by local colleges and receiving airwave endorsement by Los Angeles’ KCRW, Spuehler quickly found praise for her music. Her song ‘Where Do We Go?’, a sturdy and memorable sing-a-long found itself used in a commercial for Nissan. Later it was used in the television shows, What About Brian? and Showtime’s Weeds.
In 2004, Spuehler released her sophomore album, It’s The Sound, furthering the musical style that was quickly being attributed to her. Standouts include ‘At The Frank Black Show,’ ‘Tell Me That’ and the title track.
Spuehler’s latest is this year’s You’re My Star, yet another strong release that finds the songwriter boasting yet another collection of smart and infectious songs. ‘Holding Out For Love’ is an extremely addicting track with a chorus you can’t help but sing along to. ‘Unforgettable,’ the album’s groovy synthesized rocker, is as the lyrics goes, ‘pure magic.’ Songs like the engaging ‘Long Way From Here,’ show off Spuehler’s softer side, but never dull down the momentum of the album’s whole. Simply put, You’re My Star sparkles.
Musically, Spuehler is most often compared to critical darlings like Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, Juliana Hatfield and other strong, female songwriters who emerged in the early nineties. But unlike them, Spuehler has somehow remained under the radar, despite many of her commercial successes.
The beauty with Spuehler is how remarkably simple her songs sound. There is a straightforward sincerity to them that is completely refreshing in a business full of over-production and lyrical overflow. Her lyrics are sharp and sugarless. Her songs never seem too long or too short. And her albums sound better and better after every listen.