It’s been more than 25 years since Travis Tritt began his musical career, yet on his 2-disc CD set, Travis Tritt: A Man and His Guitar – Live from The Franklin Theatre, he sounds as fresh and relevant as ever. While staying true to his roots, he shows that he is capable of crossing the line from country to blues and Southern rock with ease. For years, I lived in Tritt’s hometown of Marietta, GA, and I still live close so I know where he comes from. So does he.
He talks about Marietta on the CD, as well as telling many humorous anecdotes from his career and paying tribute to many of the artists who influenced him. Some of the best stories about Tritt, though, are from guest Marty Stuart, a close friend and country legend.
He also sings and plays lot of songs, both alone and with Marty Stuart and The Grand Old Opry’s James Otto. It was a risk performing live with just himself and his acoustic guitar for much of the show and recording, but Tritt pulls it off. Mixing the songs with easy conversation and insuring that the sound quality is exceptional resulted in a very immersive and intimate, thoroughly entertaining set of CDs.( There is also a DVD, which I have not had the opportunity to see.)
There are 24 songs altogether,including Tritt’s original hits, like “Country Club,” “Here;s A Quarter.” “Drift off To Dream,” and “Help Me Hold On.”
Then there are the duets with James Otto (“Lord Have Mercy On The Working Man”) and Marty Stuart, with whom he performed the crowd-pleasing “Whiskey Ain’t Workin'” and an impressive instrumental, “Pickin’ At It.”
In addition, Tritt does songs he identifies with by people, living and dead, he admires, including Hank Williams,Jr., Gregg Allman, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. Every song sounds authentic and fits with the others.
In one of the songs on here that Tritt wrote, “Country Ain’t Country,” he sings about country getting too far away from its roots. That is not a mistake Tritt has made. He is unquestionably country at its very best: fresh, exciting, able to experiment, and not afraid to show both deep emotion and a sense of humor.
I remember how excited I was when I first heard “Country Club” and “Here’s A Quarter.” I felt that same way about this whole set, like I just couldn’t wait to hear it again. I think you will feel the same.