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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 McKameys' 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 with his mother, Virginia, and graduated from Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, class of 1962. Dartt’s musical training began in high school. Under the direction of his music teacher, Mr. Richard Riggs, he began to excel 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 Savior, and in August of 1964 he married his sweetheart, Sharon. In ‘65 he began singing bass in his first gospel quartet, The Stewards, and In ‘68 he joined The Victors quartet in Hollywood. Shortly after his joining The Victors, the group were signed onto 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.

     Tracy moved to Oklahoma in ’72, where he accepted the invitation from Earl and Lily Fern Weatherford to join the legendary Weatherford Quartet. During his time with Earl and Lily, Tracy was blessed to learn much about the effectiveness of music ministry, and it was during this time he authored the hit song, "The Last Sunday", which was first recorded by The Weatherford Quartet, and shortly after was recorded by The Cathedral Quartet, making it to the #2 spot in the Gospel charts. 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. During this time, Tracy and 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 and 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, and 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) - and then as a ministry out of Grayson Bible Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas (Pastors Don Elmore and Tommy Stone). In 1982 Tracy and Sharon cut their travels back to a part-time level due to Tracy's health and 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, and 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, and their youngest child, Stone, 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. During this time, 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 22nd 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 a new group member, 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 have been on 12 Gospel Cruises ( with BJ Speer's "Jubilee At Sea" Cruises, Matt Hunt's "Gospel Fest" Cruises, & Global Outreach Mission) - cruising to the Caribbean, to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and to Alaska. The group averages 200 concerts per year. 

     In 2008 The Dartts moved their home from the San Francisco Bay area to the Nashville, Tennessee area where they now reside. In December 2008, Tracy's kidneys completely failed, making it necessary to begin regular dialysis. 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 and Canada, and also a few in Europe. They continued to see many, many people come to Christ. In late 2010 a gentleman from a church in the Nashville area volunteered to donate a kidney to Tracy. He was a good match and 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. Though Tracy has since had 3 spinal surgeries and has dealt with spinal stenosis and various other health issues, He and Sharon have been able to remain on the road for the majority of the time following his kidney transplant.

     The Dartts continue to write new music, and in the last several years they've been blessed to release some of their biggest projects to date - Such as "The God On The Mountain Legacy" - a full-length film produced by Don Dartt that highlights the worldwide impact of Tracy's song, "God On The Mountain". Then came "The God On The Mountain Legacy - Music From The Motion Picture" album (available on CD) celebrating the song-writing legacy of Tracy Dartt - containing complete versions of many of the songs, orchestrations, and musical tidbits heard throughout the film, including the very first recording ever made of the song "God On The Mountain". And last but not least, the 2 newest full length albums from The Dartts, "Get Up And Get Your Shoes On" and "The Colors Of Another World" - both featuring a bounty of freshly written songs, many of which have quickly become fan favorites.

     Tracy and Sharon Dartt have 4 children, Donald, Florence, Forrest, and Stone; Don Dartt resides in the Nashville area, and is an independent film, television, and music producer, and has a wife, Debbie, and 2 grown children. Don has a website for his multimedia production work at www.DonDartt.com . Debbie is a Christian author, speaker, Bible teacher, and has her own TV show, "Debbie Dartt Ministries" which airs on the NRBTV network. Debbie is currently accepting bookings for her speaking tours. Her website is www.DebbieDartt.com . Florence Dartt-McLain has a husband and 4 children. She and her husband, Stephen, now a retired U.S. Army Major, reside in the Nashville area. Florence is busy doing the work of a stay-at-home mother. Stephen is a financial analyst for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Home Office. He is also available as a motivational speaker and has his own website at www.StephenMclain.com, focusing on patriotism, America, and business leadership principles. Forrest Dartt also resides in the Nashville area and works for HCA Nashville. He has a wife, Sabrina, and 4 children. Forrest is also an author of fiction novels. He has self-published one novel and has many other completed works - novels and short stories - for which he is seeking a publisher. His first published title, "Nadia Rising" is available online in the Amazon Kindle Store. Sabrina is busy with motherly duties at home.

    In 1990, Tracy Dartt 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 finishing his doctorate. 

     Stone Dartt is the youngest of Tracy and Sharon's children and is a partner in and charter member of The Dartts. Currently living in the Nashville area, he continues to travel with The Dartts - singing, mixing the live concert sound, composing and arranging much of The Dartts' music together with Tracy and Sharon, and 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 has been traveling and singing full-time with The Dartts for 12 years now and has released 5 recording projects during that time - his most recent album, "Does Jesus Care", was released in October 2016. BJ 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 has been faithful to dedicating himself to the aid of his parents. BJ's Dad, Billy Speer, had been incapacitated by Lewy Body dementia starting in late 2011 and spent the last 3 years of his life in a nursing home as his wife, Paula, spent much time visiting him & making sure he received the care he needed. 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. BJ's Dad lost his battle with Lewy Body in November 2016 & went home to be with the Lord. Follow the journey of BJ Speer's family & get your copy of his book, "Dusty Road - A Journey Into Faith", at www.BJSpeer.com  (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 Mom.

     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 visit The Dartts’ sending church, Napa Valley Baptist Church in Napa, California.