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The Dartts: HISTORY

The Dartts

     Tracy Dartt was born and raised 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 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. Tracy began his solo career in 1975. He wrote the songs and sang them too, as his wife, Sharon, accompanied him on the piano. In 1988, Tracy began pastoring the First Baptist Church of Auberry, California. He resigned the church after seven years, and in 1995 formed a family gospel group, The Dartts.

     Music-wise, 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. Dartt’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, The Weatherfords, Jessy Dixon, Dixie Melody Boys, John Starnes, and many more artists in at least 8 different languages. In 1988, the McKamey's live recording of "God On The Mountain" 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 is used frequently in his "Homecoming" live concerts.

     The Dartts, now in their 18th 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 ‘96 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 coast to coast, border to border, and beyond. 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 during the 1970's. 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, this combined with a severe allergic reaction to some medication. Tracy's doctors began suggesting a kidney transplant for Tracy. In mid-2007, surgery was performed to UNDO the weight-loss surgery from the 70's, 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 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 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. They were off during July-August that year in order for Tracy to have and recover from a rather unexpected spinal surgery, but The Dartts have been back to touring in full-force with all 4 members present ever since.

     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 www.GodOnTheMountainLegacy.com . Also, just released in December, 2012, "The God On The Mountain Legacy - Music From The Motion Picture" album is NOW AVAILABLE on CD. The album celebrates the song-writing legacy of Tracy Dartt and contains complete versions of most of the musical tidbits and orchestrations heard throughout the film, including 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 - Music From The Motion Picture" in the "Our Store" section of DarttMusic.com

     Tracy and Sharon Dartt have 4 children, Donald, Florence, Forrest, & Stone; Don Dartt is a producer at TBN Nashville, and has a wife and 2 children. Florence Dartt-McLain has a husband and 4 children. She and her husband, a Major in the U.S. Army, are currently serving in Norway. 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 and sing with the family group, he writes and arranges much of The Dartts' music together with Tracy and Sharon. He's also the sound man, graphic design artist, and the sole bus driver for the group. 

     BJ Speer is the only child of musical evangelists Billy and Paula Speer. He is getting ready to begin his 9th year of traveling full-time in ministry with The Dartts. He is the director of Jubilee At Sea gospel cruises, with the next cruise set for Alaska in May of 2013. He is also dedicating himself to the aid of his parents as his Dad, Billy, has recently been incapacitated by Alzheimer's and is currently at home with Paula at his side to care for him. Their home is now in foreclosure, and BJ has launched a fundraising campaign to move them from Florida to Nashville. Find out more at www.BJSpeer.com .

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