“The Keeper of the Stars”
Written by Dickey Lee, Danny Mayo and Karen Staley
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
April 28, 1995
Tracy Byrd tops the chart with his signature hit.
The Road to No. 1
After “Holdin’ Heaven” became Byrd’s first No. 1 single, radio passed on the final single from Tracy Byrd, “Why Don’t That Telephone Ring.” However, Byrd’s second album, No Ordinary Man, produced three top five singles out of the gate: “Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous,” “Watermelon Crawl,” and “The First Step.” The album’s final single was chosen due to fan response at concerts, and for radio, Byrd re-recorded it in a lower key than the album version, which is how he was performing it live.
The No. 1
So how can you make a country love ballad stand out among the glut of mid-nineties love ballads, especially when the song you’re singing isn’t anything special?
Sing it like Tracy Byrd.
He gives an outstanding performance here, utilizing his lower register to great effect. It makes the higher notes that much more impactful when he strives for them.
I don’t know what was in the water in that part of Texas, but the singers we got from there in the nineties would’ve stood out in any era of country music. Because they came out specifically during that time period, it was easier to take them for granted.
Byrd often worked with slight material, and rarely had access to the best songs Nashville songwriters were offering up. But he could make a mediocre song sound good and a good song pretty great, as he demonstrates here.
The Road From No. 1
And just like that, we’ve seen Tracy Byrd for the last time in this feature. He remained a steady hitmaker in the nineties. His third album, Love Lessons, produced a top ten hit with the title track. His next album, Big Love, featured the top five hits “Big Love” and “Don’t Take Her She’s All I Got.” His fifth and final studio album for MCA, I’m From the Country, included the top five title track and the top ten hit “I Wanna Feel That Way Again.”
Byrd switched to RCA at the turn of the century, and if we ever cover the following decade, we will feature his final No. 1 single to date, “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo.”
“The Keeper of the Stars” gets a B+.