Tracy Gail Dartt of Greenbrier passed from this world to his heavenly home on April 7, 2022, at the age of 78.
Tracy Dartt was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on January 23,1944, to the late Claude and Virginia Dartt. 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. Dartt’s first experience in Gospel music came in 1960 when he joined a teen chorale, The Christianaires. In the fall of ‘63, Tracy received Christ as his personal Savior, and in August of 1964 he married his sweetheart, Sharon. Tracy’s first attempt at songwriting was “Brand New Feeling”. His songwriting 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 songwriting skills.
Tracy moved to Oklahoma in ’72, where he accepted the invitation from Earl and Lily Fern Weatherford to join the legendary Weatherford Quartet. Tracy was blessed to learn much about the effectiveness of music ministry from Earl and Lily, and it was during this time he authored the Cathedrals’ hit song, "The Last Sunday" 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 record producer. Then they returned to California where he took up partnership in a swimming pool construction company.
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 and then as a ministry out of Grayson Bible Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas. 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. Tracy and his close friend Jay Cory began their own Gospel Music record label, CODA Productions. Tracy also started TeleTex Entertainment Group and flew out to Capitol Records in Hollywood to produce "Many Happy Trails" – a double 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 the summer of 1988, Tracy took the family on one more cross-country singing tour before the older kids headed off to college. 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 songwriting 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 songwriting pal, Dan Adkins, who influenced Tracy to start writing new songs again. After many happy and fruitful years in Auberry, it was time for a new adventure in the Gospel music ministry.
In June of 1995, Tracy, Sharon, and sons Forrest and Stone Mountain formed a family gospel group, "The Dartts”, a ministry out of Napa Valley Baptist Church in Napa, California. Forrest was with the group until April of 1996. The Dartts carried on as a trio from that point until January 2005 when they became a quartet once again with the addition of vocalist BJ Speer, who traveled with the group until The Dartts ended their touring. In 2008, The Dartts moved their home from the San Francisco Bay area to the Nashville, Tennessee area. The Dartts traveled the USA from coast to coast and border to border, and they frequently toured the Canadian Maritimes as well as Ontario. They also performed in France, Belgium, Norway, and Switzerland, and on 12 Gospel sailings to the Caribbean, to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and to Alaska. The group averaged 200 concerts per year.
During their years of touring, The Dartts were blessed to release 14 album projects as well 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." The Dartts concluded their touring in July of 2018. Tracy spent his final years surrounded by his loving friends and family and working on a series of devotionals based on his songs, “The Words and the Music and the Stories They Tell,” available on Amazon. The movie and albums are available on most online streaming services.
Tracy Dartt has written hundreds of gospel songs, many of which have been recorded by some of the finest gospel musicians. Tracy's songs include such notable titles as “The Last Sunday”, “Your Blesser Ain’t Never Been Blessed”, and “With Him” (those three recorded by The Cathedrals), and 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. The 1988 McKameys' live recording of "God on The Mountain" jumped to the top of the Southern Gospel charts, claiming 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. “God on the Mountain” has been used on several of Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" videos and has been heavily used in the "Gaither Homecoming" live concerts.
In addition to his parents and his older brother Donald, Tracy is preceded in death by his son, Stone Mountain Dartt.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Sharon Dartt; children, Donald (Deborah) Dartt, Florence Dartt McLain, and Forrest (Sabrina) Dartt; grandchildren, Taylor (Lindsey) Dartt, Rachel (Kevin) Harris, Marina McLain, Nathan McLain, Quinn McLain, Evan McLain, Cornelius (Amanda) Dartt, Rain (Nicole) Dartt, Mikaila (Jeff) Martin, and Nolan Dartt; great grandchildren, Amelia Dartt, Locke Dartt, Azrael Dartt, Trinity Dartt, Madison Dartt, Jamie Dartt, and Emma Martin.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Good Friday, April 15, 2022, at 2pm with Rev. Rudy Holland officiating. Burial will follow at Springfield Memorial Gardens with Taylor Dartt, Rain Dartt, Nathan Mclain, Steve Mclain, Ryan Noble and Steve Carter serving as pallbearers. The family will receive friends on Friday from 12pm until the time of service at the Funeral Home. Online condolences and Floral Tributes can be sent at www.SpringfieldFH.com.
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