Oral History Information
Tracy Newman Tracy Newman jumped into the Folk music scene in the early 1960s just as the genre was making its sweep across the country. She was among the early members of the New Christy Minstrels and had a long-standing gig as a performer and MC at the Bitter End in New York. There she met such notables as Woody Allen, Bud & Travis, The Limeliters and Phil Ochs who would become a friend. Tracy also began her long pursuit of songwriting, in particular writing children’s songs. In 1965 she recorded six episodes of a kids' PBS program on New York’s WNET entitled What’s New. Her segment, which became an inspiration for many young musicians, included songs such as “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and “Cripple Creek” during which she introduced her audience to the 5-string banjo. Tracy later wrote for television programs such as Cheers, According To Jim (for which she was co-creator and executive producer) and Ellen, for which she won an Emmy for Ellen DeGeneres’ ground-breaking coming-out episode in 1997. In the early 2000s she formed the band the Reinforcements and recorded a series of albums such as A Place in the Sun in 2007 and I Just See You in 2012, along with a host of special children’s albums. For her life in music and her contributions to future musicians, Tracy was awarded the 2023 NAMM Believe In Music Award!