Canadian born McNeil has been releasing albums in Australia to the adulation of critics and aficionados since her arrival in 2007. Now a permanent resident, McNeil and her music have been claimed as Melbourne’s own.
With her latest release, Thieves (winner of Best Country Album at The Age Music Victoria Awards), McNeil and her band The GoodLife deliver classic Americana infused with a healthy dose of Californian shimmer, harking back to the halcyon days of late 70s L.A country rock with Laurel Canyon-esque harmonies hung on pop-hooks.
After a sell-out album launch in Melbourne in June, 2016 she embarked on a national tour and has appeared at many major festivals including: Out On the Weekend (VIC), Port Fairy Folk Festival (VIC), Dashville Skyline (NSW), AmericanaFest (Nashville, USA), Apollo Bay MF (VIC), Bigsound Festival & Conference (QLD) and has support visiting international artists such as Mary Gauthier (USA), Tony Joe White (USA) and Dawes (USA).
She was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine in Sept 2016 as part of their ‘Future Is Now’ segment, and was also listed as one of the ‘Picks Of Bigsound’.
“Dazzling fourth LP…A technicolour West Coast dreamscape: the sound of sunrise over cedars and noonday Joshua Trees and high desert dusk…” ✯✯✯✯ Rolling Stone
In 2014 she received two nominations in The Age Music Victoria Genre awards (Best Country & Best Folk/Roots album) for Nobody Ever Leaves, and the band were named Australian Artist/Band of the Year in the Rhythms Magazine readers’ poll, editor Martin Jones describing their live show as “fully realised, world-class country rock”.
“Alt-Country meets West Coast pop/rock, Thieves qualifies as a ‘classic album’ just waiting to be heard. McNeil grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. If either released any one of these songs today, they’d return to the top of the charts.” Rhythms Magazine
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SELECTED QUOTES / ACCOLADES
THE AGE MUSIC VICTORIA AWARDS 2016: Winner – Best Country Album ‘Thieves‘
ROLLING STONE: “Dazzling fourth LP…A technicolour West Coast dreamscape: the sound of sunrise over cedars and noonday Joshua Trees and high desert dusk.” ✯✯✯✯
RHYTHMS MAGAZINE: “Alt-Country meets West Coast pop/rock, Thieves qualifies as a ‘classic album’ just waiting to be heard. McNeil grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. If either released any one of these songs today, they’d return to the top of the charts.”
PBS FM FEATURE RECORD: “The new album from Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife is an absolute stunner – beautiful harmonies, melodies and clever arrangements make Thieves an album that you will listen to over and over again…early 1970’s California sound, but Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife have put their own stamp on it to make this one of the stand out recordings of the year.”
STACK MAGAZINE: “Filled with hooks and harmonies that will keep you warm on a winter’s night.”
THE MUSIC: “US west coast FM rock of the late ’70s, with warm harmonies, swaying guitar lines and a general uplifting quality, even in her darker moments. CSNY and Fleetwood Mac fuse in a gentle Americana sound as McNeil sings of love, heartache, loss and distance.”
JOLENE – THE COUNTRY MUSIC BLOG: “Thieves has layers that reveal themselves with repeated listening, and it can also serve as an album to float away on. McNeil’s experience as a singer, songwriter and performer – and the high calibre of her band – have resulted in a creation of easy complexity: a contradiction in terms, and a wonder to behold.”
NO DEPRESSION: “The title track (Thieves) is an absolute highlight – it’s quiet but with immense strength. The guitar interplay between Parsons and Sinclair is gripping and the rhythm section of Hartley and McKenzie underlay it all with grace. I could spend hours just listening to that song over and over. A contender for Australian song of the year.”
The Age Music Victoria Genre Awards 2014: Nomination – BEST COUNTRY ALBUM; Nomination – BEST FOLK ALBUM
Rhythms Magazine Readers Poll 2014: AUSTRALIAN ARTIST/BAND OF THE YEAR
Polyester Records Charts: #1 AUGUST 2014. “This here is quintessential country rock; stomping drums, immaculate harmonies, Knopfler-esque shredding electric guitar and confident lead vocals. A recipe for success!”
PBS 106.7FM Feature Record: JULY 2014 “One of the best of 2014 thus far and a great example of an album being all killer – no filler and extremely strong songwriting…” Crispi / The Breakfast Spread
Shane Nicholson: “There’s a mountain of great music being made in Australia at the moment, and ‘Nobody Ever Leaves’ sits right at the top of it. My favourite album this year so far”
Patrick Emery / The Brag (4 stars): INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK “If you’re a fan of good music, ‘Nobody Ever Leaves’ is for you. If you’re not, then you’re on your own.”
Bernard Zuel / Sydney Morning Herald (4 stars): “McNeil has stories with a bit of bite to them, accentuated by surges of firm-footed guitar from Matt Green and, particularly in Tooth to a String, vigorous backing vocals from the rest of her very good band, the GoodLife. But whether in the Jackson Browne-like A Little More Like Love (where organ pushes its way in) and the Pretenders-like prowl of Wildcats; or the open-aired City Lights and the indoorsy Last Place I Looked, McNeil keeps making songs so easy to like.”
Samuel J. Fell / Rhythms Magazine: “Nobody Ever Leaves is a gem. The intervening time has seen McNeil grow as both a musician and songwriter, it’s seen her keen to branch out musically, it’s seen her become what I suspected all along – McNeil is a huge talent, an artist destined to make some long-overdue waves on the Australian Americana scene – this record will make sure of that. Nobody Ever Leaves is great. It’s an immense record which showcases the talent of a rising roots music star. Tracy McNeil has arrived.”
Americana UK: “Nobody Ever Leaves is a very accomplished and beautiful album…the atmosphere it creates is often magical, and the tunes are often to die for. Tracy McNeil and her band are a real cut above the crowd.”
Exclaim Magazine (Canada): “From the first bass notes and “oohs” on the opening track, “Wildcats,” what we’ve got here is an expertly crafted alt-country-pop album. Tracy McNeil (with her band, the GoodLife) delivers a punchy collection of original songs, well arranged, with just the right amount of that magic dust that gives pop music its sparkly brightness, but not enough to mask its country-rock sincerity. It’s Stephen Stills meets Fleetwood Mac.”
Denise Hylands / Stack Magazine (4 stars): “On her third solo album, she offers up her best so far – these are stories from the heart with loads of compassion and confidence…Take notice folks, this is a talent not to miss.”
Chris Familton / The Music: “Tracy McNeil finds gold by mining the tried and true washes of guitar distortion, twang and tremolo that characterise melancholic Americana with added melodic riches. A Little More Like Love is a swaying slow-burner while Wildcats overflows with hooks and a gloriously chiming guitars. Neko Case and Jenny Lewis are two songwriters that do pop-leaning alt-country so well and in its best moments Nobody Ever Leaves breathes the same rarified air.”