By Brian M. Howle
Personally, I knew about Travis Tritt for some time before being subjected to one of his albums by a passed-out fan while camping out in the infield at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA in November of 1992. Which was a good thing, because listening to “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” three or four hundred times over the course of a very long and cold night could have made me loathe the man and his music.
But, Travis deserves better than that, and I know better than that.
And in all the years since, I have always made a point to catch his shows, because despite that woeful episode I just related, trust me – you won’t get a better performance from anyone, of any genre of music. But don’t take my word for it – check him out for yourself as House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC presents An Acoustic Evening with Travis Tritt on Friday, August 14, 2009.
Ever the consummate showman, Travis Tritt will surprise you with his musicianship if you’re not familiar with the man; and his vocal power still amazes longtime fans to boot. And in my book he does the quintessential Willie Nelson impersonation as well.
Now for the background facts, culled from his website and Wikipedia:
James Travis Tritt was born in Marietta, Georgia to James and Gwen Tritt on February 9, 1963. At age 3, he received his first guitar from his father.
Travis began writing music while he was attending Sprayberry High School; his first song composition entitled “Spend A Little Time”, was written about his girlfriend about the time she broke up with him. Throughout his childhood, Tritt was obsessed with music, frequently spending hours alone in his bedroom learning to play the guitar and practicing various styles of both traditional country and southern rock songs.
By the age of 22, Tritt had been twice divorced. Single again he committed himself entirely to developing a full time music career. His breakthrough came with the release of his first album, Country Club, from which five singles were released, as well as his first No. 1 hit with “Help Me Hold On”’ His second album, It’s All About to Change, produced three top-3 hits: “Anymore”, “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’”, and “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”. The song “Bible Belt” was used in the movie, My Cousin Vinny, and, for which, he composed alternate lyrics exclusively for the use of the film.
Tritt has charted more than thirty singles on the U.S. Billboard charts, including five Number Ones, and has released fifteen albums total. His first and third albums—1989’s Country Club and T-R-O-U-B-L-E—have each achieved platinum certification by the RIAA, while his albums It’s All About to Change (1991), Greatest Hits: From the Beginning (1995) have each achieved gold status. His most recent album, The Storm, was released in 2007.
He has also received two Grammy Awards in his musical career, both awards for Best Country Vocal Collaboration: in 1992 for “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’”, a duet with Marty Stuart, and again in 1998 for “Same Old Train”, a collaboration of more than ten country music artists. In addition, he has received three awards from the Country Music Association. Tritt was accepted into membership of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992, when he was only 29. In 2002, Tritt was asked by CMT to do an episode of Crossroads, a special program allowed artists to choose who they would like to perform music with for an evening, and Tritt chose to share this opportunity and experience with Ray Charles. The night was particularly memorable for anyone familiar as Charles’ had his own roots in country music. Tritt paid special tribute to Charles at the Grand Ole Opry by performing his hit single, “What’ I Say” on June 3, 2006 on GAC.
Producer Randy Jackson paid a huge compliment to Travis Tritt, after recording a duet between Tritt and soul man Sam Moore for Moore’s 2006 album, Overnight Sensational.
“Dude, I knew you could sing, but I had no idea you could do that blue-eyed soul thing!”
Then he made a suggestion. “If you ever want to do an album that puts a bigger spotlight on that,” Jackson said, “I’d love to work on it with you.”
The end result of that conversation is The Storm, Tritt’s widely-praised 2007 release. Tritt and Jackson teamed up to create a powerhouse collection of songs that emphasize the irresistible soul side of Tritt’s singing. It’s a card that has always been in Tritt’s stylistic deck, but one that has often been overlooked by listeners unfamiliar with the deep musical links between country and R&B, particularly in the South.
“Growing up just outside Atlanta, to the north of us you’ve got the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville,” Tritt explains. “A little bit South you’ve got Macon, Georgia – home of the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and Capricorn Records. And off to west you’ve got Delta blues. Sprinkle Southern gospel over the top of that, and you’re talking about where I came from. I loved all of that music.”
And it won’t take you long to understand that statement. So break out the quarters and join Travis Tritt for an Acoustic Evening at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Friday, August 14, 2009. Doors open 7:30pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit http://www.houseofblues.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com.
This article is also published in Alternatives Newsmagazine, July 30, 2009; and appears at http://www.myrtlebeachalternatives.com under “Nightlife & Entertainment”.