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Country Flashback: Tracy Byrd Tips His Hat to ‘The Keeper of the Stars’

Country music was Tracy Byrd‘s backup plan. Byrd was studying business at Texas State University and singing for fun in a band called Rimshot in Beaumont, Texas. His friends persuaded him to cover Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in a mall recording studio. The owner was impressed and sent the recording in to a talent contest. One thing led to another, and Byrd signed to MCA Records in 1992.

Byrd had a hot run in the ’90s with multiple hits. On his first album, Tracy Byrd, the Texan singer hit No. 1 with “Holdin’ Heaven.” However, it was his album No Ordinary Man that would solidify Byrd’s position as a proto-bro country song with carefree party songs “Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous” (Number Four) “Watermelon Crawl” (Number Four), and “The First Step” (Number Five). However, the fourth single off No Ordinary Man, “The Keeper of the Stars,” showcased Byrd’s sensitive side.

The song is a tender ballad in which the character croons to his lover that a third party — “the keeper of the stars,” has brought them together (commonly interpreted as God.) The love song often pulls double duty as a wedding song. It was written by Dickey Lee (who has also written songs for George Strait, Charley Pride, and Reba McEntire), Danny Mayo (Hank Williams, Jr. and Sammy Kershaw), and Karen Staley (Faith Hill).

How “The Stars” Was Born

However, much like Byrd’s music career, the song was an accidental success. “The Keeper of the Stars” was never intended to be a single, but was released as one because of its popularity in live performances. It reached a peak position at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country chart, making it the most successful single off the album. It was declared Song of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1996.

Interestingly, there are two versions of the song: Byrd felt he sang the song better in a lower key. The album version is one semitone higher than the radio version, which was also used in the song’s music video.

Beyond “The Stars”

“The Keeper of the Stars” would become one of Byrd’s greatest hits along with “Walking to Jerusalem” (1995), “Heaven in My Woman’s Eyes” (1996), “Don’t Love Make a Diamond Shine” (1997), “When Mamma Ain’t Happy” (1998), “I’m From the Country” (1998), “Love, You Ain’t Seen the Last Of Me” (1999), “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo” (2002), “The Truth About Men” (2003), and “Just Let Me Be in Love” (2003), among many, many others.

Byrd is currently taking a break from music and helping his wife, Michelle, run a housewares and kitchen appliance store called Kitchen Koncepts in Beaumont. He has said that if he plans to return to music, it’ll be after his two sons have grown. It’s hard to blame Byrd for taking a break after a run that was surely blessed by the Keeper of the Stars.

“The Keeper of the Stars” Lyrics

It was no accident me finding you
Someone had a hand in it
Long before we ever knew
Now I just can’t believe you’re in my life
Heaven’s smilin’ down on me
As I look at you tonight

I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars
He sure knew what he was doin’
When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I’ve got all I’ll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars

Soft moonlight on your face oh how you shine
It takes my breath away
Just to look into your eyes
I know I don’t deserve a treasure like you
There really are no words
To show my gratitude

So I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars
He sure knew what he was doin’
When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I’ve got all I’ll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars

It was no accident me finding you
Someone had a hand in it
Long before we ever knew

Now Watch: Underrated Country Love Songs of the 90s

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Country Flashback: Tracy Byrd Tips His Hat to ‘The Keeper of the Stars’