I was fortunate enough – it was actually by accident – to catch Travis Linville and his band on their latest tour the other night. They opened for a band I wouldn’t normally go see in a bar I don’t normally frequent, but I got wind of an old acquaintance coming through in one of the bands so I went to check it. Glad I did, because I witnessed some of the most solid, down to earth, tone-to-the-bone roots rock that I have seen or heard in quite some time. Travis Linville.
Now, to be quite honest, when I see someone sporting a harmonica around their neck, I usually brace myself for some generic down-home schlock – that is, if I can’t find a quick escape route. But intrigued by his unusual custom amps and the awesome tone emanating from them, I stuck it out, and was almost instantly pleased with newly found open mind. The absolute best description I can give is the one I’ve already used at least twice now – solid. Down home? Well, yes. But not in a bad way. Generic schlock? Neither one, and absolutely no combination of the two whatsoever.
A little interneting has revealed some interesting things about Mr. Linville. After the set, I discovered that as an Oklahoma native, he’s been playing Tulsa, a city I frequent every so often, for quite a while. But I had no idea his repertoire was so impressive.
A year or so ago, while traveling through Tulsa, in a rag I procured from the Gypsy Coffee House, I was reading about Parker Millsap and checking out his stuff online, and lo and behold, his mentor is none other than…Travis Linville. Apparently Travis has also been on The Tonight Show, produced John Fullbright’s first album, graced the stage with Willie Nelson, Tommy Allsup and Ryan Bingham, and shared billing with Merle Haggard and Billy Joe Shaver (seen him a bunch of times on Austin cable access – back in the day and all that). Other names mentioned were John Moreland and the Burtschi Brothers, both of whom I will check into forthwith. Travis’ bass player, whose name escapes me as of this writing, highly recommended John Moreland when I spoke with him that night, so off to the internets I will once again go…
Anyway, check out Travis Linville, and here’s a video to get you started:
(School of Hard Knocks – you’d think “generic”, but I’m here to tell you, it’s – you guessed it – solid.)