“Tell No One”
Sarah Tracey, a classically trained, Chicago-born chanteuse now based in New York City, decided to have a some role-playing fun with her full-length debut.
According to her press materials, Tracey, who has been working for the past five years as a smoky vocalist in the Big Apple, comes from a colorful line that includes Mayflower settlers and hanged horse thieves, breakthrough scientific explorers and sordid scandal-makers.
Now her family can add a spy-cum-songstress to the family tree. Tracey created a Mata Hari-like persona and ran with an international spy concept for her new album, “Tell No One.”
Romantic and moody, full of shadows and secrets, the album bristles with intrigue and Tracey’s torchy and sensual vocals. The instrumentation on the album adds to her international-woman-of-mystery persona, including spooky and suspense-building turns on the vibraphone by David Vincola, and tasteful horn punctuation on several numbers courtesy of Dan Urness and Dylan Daniels on trumpets, Dave Nelson on trombone and Nate Mayland on bass trombone. Drummer Adam Christgaue gives each song just the right touch, working in bongos and using brushes if the song calls for it.
The overall effect is that of some long-lost jazzy soundtrack for a ’50s spy thriller. And this lady “spy” proves she has the chops not only as a vocalist but also as a songwriter, writing 10 of the 12 songs solo (two list producer Eshy Gazit as co-writer).
The songs vary in rhythmic quality, from rumba and pop to sensual balladry, which holds the listener’s interest. Standouts include the longing ballad “I Want To,” and the title cut, “Tell No One,” with its horns echoing Monty Norman and John Barry’s “James Bond” movie theme music.
The lyrics and phrasing are strong, and never stray from the album’s sexy spy concept. Tracey clearly had a ball with the wordplay here, as demonstrated on the upbeat “Moving Target”: “Don’t follow me to Zurich, Monaco or Budapest/ Lisbon, Barcelona, Macao, Bali, Bucharest/ Don’t look for me in Rio, Montegro or Bombay/ Prague, Havana, London, Moscow, darling stay away/ I might be your siren but I’ll never be your muse/ You’re a ticking time bomb, I’m the spark that lights the fuse.”
Clearly, Tracey and crew had a great deal of fun playing with her femme fatale persona on her debut. If you are a fan of smoky torch songs, international intrigue and jazzy lounge numbers, Tracey’s “Tell No One” will be as intriguing as a beautiful trench-coated stranger beckoning you with eyes full of promise.
Listen to Sarah Tracey's "Moving Target"