Travis Tritt - Set In Stone
Big Noise Label Group
The 1990s country hit-maker’s first all-new album in 14 years blends the passion and connection for which he’s known with a new self-awareness that should speak to both mainstream country and left-field roots-rock audiences. As much influenced by a long-time love of Southern rock as traditional country music, SET IN STONE is the sound of an uncompromising, genre-defying artist firing on all cylinders. Moving between bluesy ballads, heavy rock tunes, southern anthems and outlaw country, a unique blend, perhaps best described as ‘Neo South.’ Cryptic, provocative and addictive, his spin on this country funk is anchored by the earthiness of his voice. His lyrics are steeped in strength, integrity, and perseverance and he establishes this on the opening track Stand Your Ground.
His unrelenting focus provides fresh intensity for the driving electric guitar squall, with the reckless, go-it-alone feel that characterises the Travis Tritt persona and for good reason, considering the problems he’s encountered with music biz suits over the years.
The title song veers back to the working-class pride that has been central to his place in the country universe. Wrought with a sensation that's both resilient and defiant, his powerful vocals and insightful lyrics recall the best of his early work. Smoke In A Bar is a hard-edged nostalgic look back at the so-called ‘good ol’ days’, through confused, rose-tinted glasses, misted up by too many trumpisms. Much better is the sensitive Leave This World, a heartfelt co-write with Ashley Monroe. A more traditional country song with mainly acoustic guitar picking and wistful pedal steel, as he shows off his deft vocal talents in a song with emotive lyrics of not wishing to be parted from a loved one when it comes to time to depart this world. He’s also in top form with They Don’t Make ‘em Like That Anymore, a toe-tapping honky-tonker in which he expresses the contrasting weight and grateful recognition of good fortune for what he has in a loving woman and great memories. The guitar sonics are amped to where you can rock out to it, but it’s never overbearing.
Travis is also at home pushing the ramshackle blues-rock bruiser Ghost Town Nation. Open Line crawls with delicious, doom-laden menace, while Southern Man is pure crunchy swagger and groove … a twangy, chip-on-your-shoulder anthem that flips the bird to anybody doubting his credibility as a good ol’ Southern boy. The bracingly stark vocal of Better Off Dead is so full of painful regret it hurts. Though it may not pack the punch of a sweat-soaking head-banger, it is emotionally gutting. And maybe that’s the most powerful thing a country song can be.