Travis Linville Finds His Stride

Posted by Greg on Mar 7, 2017 in Music |

There’s something utterly sublime and deeply potent about Travis Linville’s slow-burning new record Up Ahead. Though its extremely sedate in its pacing, its memorable numbers (of which there are many) linger long after the final seconds and announce Linville as a major play in the very crowded Americana scene. Having spent much of his career as a sideman (most notably for Hayes Carll), Linville’s fifth release is easily his best and so far one of this year’s best to date.

The album opens gorgeously with the airy and vernal “Flowers In Your Hair,” a perfect introduction to Linville and his songbook. There’s a halcyon, timeless quality to both his timbre and his song structure. The songs are quiet but roar due mostly to both the verses and Linville’s nimble playing. The piano-laden “Two Times the Fool” is more or less an anomaly in that it veers more towards blues and has a tone and vibe that pushes Linville next to or above his contemporaries.

Though he’s labeled as a country singer in some press notes, the only cut on Up Ahead that veers towards that is the indelible and impeccable “Bar Room.” Sounding like a contemporary of Buck Owens or Merle Haggard, “Bar Room” absolutely shines from the very first note. The lilting title track is arguably the album’s apex and easily one of the year’s best songs. Ostensibly a song about hope, perseverance and pushing forward through adversity, “Up Ahead” is a song that needs to be heard to be fully realized. Matching “Up Ahead” in its need for perseverance is the tender “Finding My Way.”

When all is said and done, Up Ahead is a near-perfect collection of heartfelt and deeply tender Americana from one of the nation’s freshest talents.

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