Trace’s story began in 1969 in a small town. Located about half way up the “mitten” on the shore of the “big lake” lies Muskegon, Michigan. Muskegon has a storied past, at one time being the lumber capital of the world. From lumber, the growing city made the shift to being an industrial town. Then the 70’s came and with it the outsourcing of jobs and shuttering of the many automotive parts plants.
Trace’s love of music started at an early age. When most kids his age were out playing, he was sitting next to his record player listening to the likes of John Denver and The Beatles. From the time he first heard AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long, he knew playing music was all he wanted to do.
Being the son of a sheet metal worker, hunting, fishing and being self-reliant were the lessons of the day. Saying your dream was to write music and play in a band wasn’t considered a solid career plan. This talk was always responded to with, You need to get a ‘real’ job, son.”
Years went by, Trace graduated high school and indeed he went and got a “real” job. These “real” jobs, however, never brought any happiness or satisfaction. Between the dismal jobs and the often brutal Michigan winters, Trace knew it was time for a change.
In the summer of 93’ he sold his belongings and rode his motorcycle out to Phoenix, Arizona. The energy of the desert just seemed to resonate with him. With a fresh start he decided it was time to reinvent his self. Learning to play guitar was the first order of business. He had started playing bass before he left Michigan but you can’t write music with a bass. Once he picked up a six string and taught himself a few chords it became like an addiction. Nights after work, weekends, whenever there was time he was playing.
That same year Trace made his first trip to Mexico on a scuba holiday. He thought the desert was the most beautiful place until he saw where the desert meets the ocean. No watches, no cell phones, a slower more enjoyable pace. It only seemed natural to bring the guitar to while away the hours watching the tide come in.
Time went by, the trips to Mexico, all the while becoming more proficient on the guitar. While the scuba diving and the guitar brought intermittent happiness, the “real” job was once again taking its toll on his spirit. In the back of his mind the thought of playing and writing music was still gnawing at him.
As Tom Petty once said “even the losers get lucky sometimes” and such was the case when Trace met his soulmate in 2004. She supported his music and after hearing a couple songs he penned, she talked him into playing an open mic night. The emcee for the open mic told Trace that a music marketing company was going to have a rep there the following week and he should return to play another set. The following week the rep offered him a contract, which he declined. It served its purpose. Trace knew he had something to share with the world at that point. And the songwriting continued…
In the winter of 2012 after being on 3rd shift for years, the weight of it all was overtaking him. Then one night on a late night radio show the host and a guest were discussing a South American brew called ayahuasca. The guest went on to describe how life changing the experience had been and how her depression had vanished never to return. Trace drove home and started telling his wife about the show and how they needed to go do that. For Christmas that year his wife had bought him a couple hours of studio time at Uranus Studio in Tempe. They scheduled time for the studio at the beginning of 2013 and then went and hopped a jet to Peru.
A week in the Amazon rain forest drinking ayahuasca was life changing to say the least. Learning from the shamans about the true reality of this existence and that there were spirits all around us to help and guide us gave Trace a new sense of purpose. So moving was the experience that he has since made numerous trips back to Peru to commune more with Madre Ayahuasca and Sanango, another brew utilized by the shamans to dislodge trapped energy and straighten one’s energies as well. He returned to Phoenix with a new outlook on life and a new sense of purpose. The time in the studio went by and a few more trips into “la selva” (the jungle) to participate in more ayahuasca and sanango ceremonies and before he knew it he had eleven songs recorded.
The origins of the band name are symbolic of his own inner journey. Whenever Trace heads down to Mexico, friends and family always comment on how he becomes a different person once the border is crossed and the car is on the 8 South headed to Puerto Penasco. That’s the kind of freedom Trace feels when he’s playing and singing and The 8 South Band was born. The three lined tri-glyph in the band logo is the symbol for thunder. When they were sitting in the studio listening to the mixed and mastered final cut of the album one thing became glaringly obvious. That the spirits wrote the songs and Trace was just the conduit. So they had a name for the album.
March 2015 the debut studio effort from Trace & The 8 South Band / Spirits is released. The key to happiness is to live in the moment. It’s all we have besides each other. Every moment is beautiful and perfect. This one is no exception.
Peace, Love and Rock-n-Roll,
Trace & the 8 South Band