Tracy Wells performs with the Overdue Blues Band on Friday and Saturday at Fratters Speakeasy. The band is also made up of Dean Bruce on guitar

Born to sing the blues

Tracy Wells is a natural blues singer — she just didn’t know it for a long while.

Tracy Wells is a natural blues singer — she just didn’t know it for a long while.

“I grew up with rock ’n’ roll. I didn’t know a lot about blues music,” admitted the Red Deer woman, who performs with her appropriately named Overdue Blues Band on Friday and Saturday at Fratters Speakeasy.

After studying jazz/blues piano at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Wells realized that virtually every rock song she ever loved was really a blues songs at heart — whether the artist was Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or the Rolling Stones.

“All my life I was actually listening to blues music,” said Wells, who relates to its raw, emotional quality.

“It makes you feel something … it really shakes you to your soul, and touches people in different ways.”

Eventually, she figured out she was born to sing the blues — but it took her a few more years.

First Wells taught piano after leaving university, then she went back to school and switched careers, taking an architectural technology job that brought her to Red Deer from her native Sherwood Park.

Just like her mom, Wells always loved to sing ­— but she and a friend would satisfy the desire by frequenting local karaoke bars after work.

The friend, always blown away by the power of Well’s voice, pushed her in the direction of singing with a band.

In late 2011, Wells and some local musicians scrambled to formed a new group to perform for a New Year’s Eve party. It would become the Overdue Blues Band.

She recalled, “After we played together, we thought, man, this is a lot of fun! We’ve got to keep it together.”

While it took Wells a long time to discover her natural affinity for blues singing, other people get it the minute she opens her mouth.

For instance, the singer was accepted on her first try to an adjudicated vocal camp in Calgary in 2012 — then, through this experience, won the chance for her band to perform in that year’s Calgary International Blues Festival.

“I thought, holy cow! We’ve barely been a band and now we’ve got to put together a demo!”

The Overdue Blues Band went on to become a finalist in the Edmonton Blues Society’s Memphis Blues Challenge. The group has also performed at various Red Deer bars, the Central Music Festival, the Ross Street Patio and headlined at Canada Day celebrations.

The next big step is recording a full-length debut album, which Wells hopes will happen by next fall.

The band is also made up of Dean Bruce on guitar, Marcel Meijers on bass, Curtis Romanick on drums, and Nick Partridge on keyboards.

Many of the original songs are collaborations between Wells and Bruce. She said, “Someone will start playing a riff and words will come into our head . . . or one of us will get an idea based on life experience or observations.”

Bruce first wrote Come On and Love Me when he was 14, and the song has gone through many permutations, said Wells. “It’s a teenage guy’s view on women. He’s just starting out in the world and he’s an awkward teen, and it’s like, ‘Come on, give me a chance.’ ”

The tune Dirty Dawg comes from a more worldly, female perspective. Wells wrote it thinking about some of the shenanigans guys try to pull on their girlfriends. “It’s saying, ‘I know what you’re up to. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes.’ ”

The Overdue Blues Band performs 9 p.m. shows at Fratters. There’s a $8 cover charge both nights.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

Eight dogs found in Innisfail hotel room were kept in cages

Eight dogs, kept in cages in a small hotel room in Innisfail… Continue reading

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month