Long Career with Postal Service Inspiring a Decatur Man's Music

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DECATUR -- Tracy Osborne never knows exactly when inspiration will strike.

A postal worker of 28 years, Osborne has learned that all that walking from house-to-house leaves a lot of time for the mind to wander.

"When I'm walking, delivering the mail I get the creative juices flowing," he said.

By night, he turns in his uniform, scanner, and mail bag for a guitar, an amp, and a microphone, satisfying a musical interest that he says began when he first saw the Beatles.

Osborne started as a mail man when he was stationed in Las Vegas and Nellis Air Force base in the 1980s, but said he taught himself to play the guitar in 7th grade. In the years since, he's  learned to play a number of popular songs, mostly rock and roll from the '80s and '90s, and he's written about 450 songs of his own.

Naturally, that musical interest would have made a fine career, but it never seemed to catch on, despite his best efforts.

"Over the years I've tried all kinds of ways back in the old days - of sending CDs, cassettes," Osborne said.

That's when he found his niche - and enlisted a little help from a well-known online video service.

Osborne came up with a unique idea: "Postal Parodies," the act the quick-witted 52-year-old said began to get him noticed as a sort of "Weird Al of the Post Office."

"I had to have a gimmick or something," he said, adding perhaps the most important part to his psuedo-celebrity, "and then I suddenly realized YouTube is a nice tool."

His YouTube videos are as silly and corny as you could imagine, which Osborne says is on purpose. Beyond the thick shades and mail man uniform are about 50 of these postal parodies - all very recognizable tunes, just with some different words.

"I took the song We Will Rock You and changed it to We Will Walk You," said Osborne of one his more popular songs. "I've also got White Legs instead of Hot Legs by Rod Stewart "

He said some of the songs take 15 minutes to write. Others, he's thinking about for years.

His Song "My Scanner Doesn't Work" which parodies Eddie Rabbit's "I Love a Rainy Night" has more than 6,000 views on YouTube. That's not "viral" status, but it's getting Osborne exposure he wasn't getting before.  In fact, his notoriety earned him some stage time at the upcoming Decatur Celebration, where he'll play a mix of his parodies, some cover songs, as well as some of his original work.

Osborne hasn't made any determinations about his future in either music or the postal service.  He's eligible for retirement in April 2017, and will see just how profitable his musical career could be.

Even, he laughs, if that might mean a life relegated to performing at postal worker retirement parties.

"That would be a really good idea," he said. "I think that would really work."

Osborne will be featured on August 7, the Sunday of the Decatur celebration on the Backlot Stage - that's on the corner of North and Water Streets - from 12:30pm-1:30pm.

Find more of his YouTube work here.

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