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The Dartts: HISTORY

The Dartts

     Tracy Dartt has written hundreds of gospel songs, many of which have been recorded by some of the finest groups and soloists in gospel music. Tracy's songs include such notable titles as “The Last Sunday”, “Your Blesser Ain’t Never Been Blessed”, and “With Him” (recorded by The Cathedrals), “A Matter Of Policy (The Deacon Song)”, “God Stopped To Pick A Rose”, and of course his biggest hit song, “God On The Mountain”, which has been recorded over 200 times by artists such as The McKameys, Lynda Randle, Jason Crabb, Jake Hess, Tribute Quartet, The Weatherfords, Jessy Dixon, Dixie Melody Boys, John Starnes, and many more artists in at least 8 different languages. In 1988, the McKamey's recording of "God On The Mountain" from their recorded-live project "Gone To Meetin'" jumped to the top of the Southern Gospel charts, taking the #1 spot in the Singing News charts for 5 months in a row. The song was nominated for a Dove award, and during the 5 months that it was #1 on the charts, it drew more radio airplay points than any song in the history of Southern Gospel music up to that time. The song has been used on several of Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" videos, and has been heavily used in the "Gaither Homecoming" live concerts.

     Tracy Dartt was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1944. He moved to California in 1959, and there graduated in 1962. He attended college classes at night, having to work during the day, but it wasn’t until 1990 that he finally received his B.A. from Baptist Christian University (Shreveport, LA). He completed his master's degree from American Bible College (Pine Island, FL) in March of 2008, and is currently working on his doctorate. Dartt’s musical training began in high school. Thanks to his teacher, Mr. Richard Riggs, he excelled in music and drama. Dartt’s first experience in gospel music came in 1960 when he joined a teen choral, The Christianaires. In the fall of ‘63, Tracy received Christ as his personal Saviour. In ‘65 he began singing bass in his first gospel quartet, The Stewards. In ‘68 he began singing with The Victors quartet in Hollywood, California. Shortly after his joining The Victors, they signed a contract with Capitol Records and released an album entitled “Brand New Feeling”. The title song was Tracy’s first attempt at song writing. His song writing mentor was his quartet partner, Al Harkins. Harkins’ mentoring, along with the insights received from writers and producers in Hollywood, helped to refine Tracy’s God-given song-writing skills. Dartt moved to Oklahoma in ’72, where he began singing with the famous Weatherford Quartet. After a little more than a year with the Weatherfords, he worked for a time as a producer for Cam Records and laid the foundation for Sound Factory Music Company. Then it was back to California, where he took up partnership in a swimming pool construction company. While in the pool business, Dartt & wife, Sharon, helped to form a new gospel group with June and Dale Wade and Larry Brown, called The Country Congregation - they traveled with the group for a little more than a year.

     In 1975, Tracy & Sharon felt the Lord's calling to go into the ministry as a full-time traveling music evangelist. He wrote the songs and sang them too - and Sharon accompanied him on the piano and started writing a few songs of her own. Over the next 7 years, Tracy, Sharon, & their growing family took to the road in their new type of home - a tour bus, traveling full time - originally as a ministry out of Puente Baptist Temple in La Puente, California (Pastor Don Ledbetter) - & then as a ministry out of Grayson Bible Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas (Pastors Don Elmore & Tommy Stone). In 1982 Tracy & Sharon cut their travels back to a part-time level due to health reasons & the school needs of the kids. Together with close friend, Jay Cory, they had opportunity to begin their own Gospel Music record label, CODA Records, producing albums for several Gospel artists such as The Weatherfords, Johnny Flanagan, Mark Gray, & The Riggan Family. Tracy also started TeleTex Entertainment Group and flew out to Capitol Records in Hollywood to produce "Many Happy Trails" - a double LP album project for Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Roy Rogers jr. The recording included the first big band song arrangement Dale Evans had recorded in several decades. The album also contained some great cowboy tunes, including one of the last Roy Rogers recordings of the classic, "Happy Trails". Tracy wrote one song for the album - "Pretend", recorded by Roy jr. (Dusty).

     In summer of 1988, Tracy took the family on one more cross-country singing tour before the older kids headed off to college at Liberty University. It was during this tour, while in California, that Tracy was offered the pulpit of a little country church he had been singing at for years. That fall, Tracy, Sharon, & Stoney made the move from Texas to the West Coast and Tracy set aside song-writing as he focused on his new ministry as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Auberry, California. Around 1993, Tracy was blessed to get back in touch with an old song-writing pal, Dan Adkins, who influenced Tracy to start writing new songs again. After many happy and fruitful years there, it was time for a new adventure in Gospel music ministry, and in June of 1995, Tracy formed a family gospel group, "The Dartts" - a ministry out of Napa Valley Baptist Church in Napa, California (Pastors Sherman Smith, Rudy Holland, David Waters, Steve Davidson, & Ron Driscoll).

     The Dartts, now in their 20th year as a full-time, family singing group, began in June of 1995 with Tracy, Sharon, and sons, Forrest and Stone Mountain. Forrest was with the group until April of 1996 and The Dartts carried on as a trio from that point until January 2005, when they became a quartet once again with the addition of BJ Speer. The Dartts travel the USA from coast to coast and border to border, and frequently tour the Canadian Maritimes as well as Ontario. They've also performed in France, Belgium, Norway, & Switzerland, and they've been on 12 Gospel Cruises ( with "Jubilee At Sea" Cruises, "Matt Hunt" Cruises, & Global Outreach Mission) in the Caribbean, to New England & the Canadian Maritimes, and to Alaska. The group averages around 200 concerts per year. 

     Tracy had been dealing with kidney problems and ongoing kidney stones for nearly 30 years as a side-effect of a life-saving weight-loss surgery he underwent in 1977. These problems increasingly worsened as time passed, even bringing Tracy quite close to death in early 2004 due to the fact that one whole kidney was filled with a massive stone while the other kidney was starting to fail. Tracy's doctors began suggesting a kidney transplant for Tracy. In mid-2007, surgery was performed to UNDO the weight-loss surgery from '77, thereby eliminating Tracy's kidney stone problem. This procedure, combined with a modern technique to ensure Tracy's weight remains stable, paved the way for a possible kidney transplant. In 2008 The Dartts moved their home from the San Francisco Bay area to the Nashville, Tennessee area where they now continue to reside. In December 2008 The Dartts finished their touring for the year in Southern California, parked the bus in Phoenix, Arizona, and flew home to Nashville to celebrate Christmas. Tracy had been short of breath and coughing quite a bit for a few months prior to this. He had also been putting on a little weight each day for several weeks. Just after New Years, Tracy made the call that it was time to go to a nearby hospital in Springfield, TN, and it wasn't a moment too soon. The Springfield hospital put Tracy in an ambulance and transported him to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The staff there immediately started Tracy on dialysis, and within the first couple of days the doctors had taken more than 20 pounds of fluids out of Tracy's system. His kidneys had completely failed. 4 members of The Dartts flew home for Christmas - Only 2 would fly back to Phoenix to start the 2009 touring season.

     From January 2009 to January 2011 Tracy was awaiting approval for a kidney transplant. In the meantime, He and Sharon remained close to their Nashville area home in order to facilitate Tracy's dialysis treatments, which he underwent 3 times weekly. In the meantime, Stone Dartt and BJ Speer carried on the ministry of The Dartts full-time, making hundreds of appearances across the United States, Canada, & Europe. They continued to see many, many people come to Christ. 

     More than 20 individuals from across the United States expressed an interest in donating a kidney to Tracy. Many of those were tested for a match, and one by one they were quickly turned down. In late 2010 a gentleman from a church in the Nashville area volunteered to be tested. He was a good match & passed every test. The transplant surgery was done on January 11th, 2011, and Tracy's doctors have said he is a low-risk for rejection. Tracy and Sharon got back on the road with Stone and BJ in April, 2011. Shortly thereafter, Tracy began having sever symptoms of spinal stenosis, and has since undergone 3 spinal surgeries and many hours of physical therapy that kept him off the road July-August of 2011, December 2013 - March 2014, and June-December of 2014. All the while, The Dartts ministry remained strong on the road with Stone & BJ traveling as a duet.

     The Dartts continue to write new music and just when it looked like they might have to bring things to a close, they released their largest project ever, thanks to the hard work of their first-born son, Don. "The God On The Mountain Legacy", released in September, 2010 - a full-length film produced by Don Dartt that highlights the impact that Tracy's song, "God On The Mountain", has had on people the world over. "The God On The Mountain Legacy" has been featured on television and is available on DVD through the Movie's website at . Also, released in December 2012, "The God On The Mountain Legacy - Music From The Motion Picture" album (available on CD) celebrates the song-writing legacy of Tracy Dartt and contains complete versions of many of the songs, orchestrations, & musical tidbits heard throughout the film, including the very first recording ever made of the song "God On The Mountain", plus brand new recordings from The Dartts, and rare, classic recordings from Tracy Dartt, The Victors, The Weatherfords, The Regents of Southern California, June Wade, and The Country Congregation. Look for "The God On The Mountain Legacy" DVD and "The God On The Mountain Legacy - Music From The Motion Picture" on CD or digital album download in the "Our Store" section of

     Tracy and Sharon Dartt have 4 children, Donald, Florence, Forrest, & Stone; Don Dartt is an independent film, television, and music producer, and has a wife and 2 grown children. Florence Dartt-McLain has a husband and 4 children. Her husband, a Major in the U.S. Army, is currently working at the Pentagon. Forrest Dartt works for HCA Nashville, and has a wife and 4 children. 

     Stone Dartt is the youngest of Tracy and Sharon's children and is a partner in and charter member of The Dartts. He continues to travel with the family group - singing, mixing the live concert sound, writing and arranging much of The Dartts' music together with Tracy and Sharon, & is the driver of the group's tour bus or touring van (depending on the touring season) among doing many other things, including graphic design.

     BJ Speer is the only child of musical evangelists Billy and Paula Speer. He's had more than 10 years of traveling and singing full-time with The Dartts. He is also the president of Billy Speer Ministries, and is a travel agent & has coordinated Gospel cruises to Alaska, New England & the Canadian Maritimes, & in the Caribbean as the director of "Jubilee At Sea" gospel cruises. He is also dedicating himself to the aid of his parents. BJ's Dad, Billy Speer, has been incapacitated by Lewy Body dementia since late 2011 and is currently in a nursing home - his wife, Paula, spends much time visiting him & making sure he's getting the care he needs. In 2013 they lost their home in Florida along with their vehicle & many other personal belongings. In 2012, BJ launched a fundraising campaign to move them from Florida to the Nashville area, and through the prayer and financial support of God's people, he was able to put them in a brand new home in Springfield, Tennessee, in January 2013. Currently, Billy is under hospice care & is not expected to live much longer. Follow the journey of BJ Speer's family & get your copy of his book, "Dusty Road - A Journey Into Faith", at  (Also available in the iBooks & Amazon Kindle stores). The family's website also offers for sale the many wonderful Gospel music recordings of Billy & Paula Speer, which are also available in the iTunes store. Proceeds from the book & music recordings go to the support of BJ's parents to help them through this difficult journey with Lewy Body.

     The Dartts invite you to explore and to sign their guestbook as well as join their e-mail list. You are also invited to visit The Dartts’ sending church, Napa Valley Baptist Church in Napa, California.