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article imageInterview with proactive country singer Travis List Special

By Adrian Peel     Dec 9, 2014 in Music
The Australian neotraditionalist, a long-time resident of Nashville, is one artist striving to 'keep it country.' Digital spoke to him about, among other things, his appearance at the upcoming Tamworth Festival.
Travis List joined Nashville's ever expanding Aussie expat community, with the initial intention of finding work as a songwriter, in 2008. Though still very active in this capacity, the singer-songwriter has made four albums to date, What Else Would I Do (2007), Cloud Eight (2009), Travis List (2012), and This Corner (October, 2014).
At present, the boy from One Tree Hill, a small town on the outskirts of Adelaide, is back in South Australia preparing for an 11-date stint at the Tamworth Festival that begins on January 15th.
"I've been preparing for Tamworth and I'm excited about going back and taking the new album there and playing it for all the folks up there," he enthuses, chatting to me from his hometown. "I'm excited to see how it goes with my Tamworth fans.
"We've been really busy. I've been on tour with Kristy Cox, another South Australian, and we both now live in Nashville, Tennessee. We left out of Nashville probably five months ago and went through Europe on tour.
"After that, we headed to Australia and did two months solid touring in Australia and did about 19 shows round five states and now we're having a little bit of a short break between that tour and Tamworth."
"I love Tamworth," states Travis, "because I get to go back and catch up with all of my musician friends and industry friends. Because I live in Nashville all year round, it's really the only time that I get to catch up with them, and of course the crowds are great.
"It is basically 10 days of just music - it's all about music - and it's like a little mini Nashville, to me. I thrive in those environments, where it's all about the music."
How do Aussie crowds compare to those in the US?
"US crowds they engage a bit more - they're a little bit more outspoken. Australian crowds tend to be more laid-back, which is great in itself. Very relaxing environment playing in Australia, I feel, and you're more likely to have a one-on-one experience with Australian crowds.
"American crowds are usually larger and more rowdy, but they love music just the same as Australians do. It's like going through Europe where in some countries they don't speak English, music is the one thing that connects everybody and that everybody can tap into."
Produced by renowned musician and songwriter, Jerry Salley, Travis's latest album should please fans of the more traditional country sound (the artist who began performing at the age of seven cites Merle Haggard and Hank Williams as two of his musical heroes).
As this fiddle and steel-heavy style is not currently favoured in Music City, I was curious to learn how Travis was finding it there, from a professional standpoint?
"It always goes well over in Nashville because my music has an attachment to the original roots," he replies, "but with a sort of newer flavour on it... I think Nashville is starting to get a bit of a resurgence back to its past and there's an almost retro, traditional feel coming in pretty heavily.
"I like to think that everything goes in circles and that we'll have a new wave of music that is a little bit more connected to the old ways. But Nashville itself is definitely booming at the moment. We've got the Nashville TV series and we've got great artists out there like Taylor Swift paving the way.
"That's the great thing about country music. It has so many different attachments to so many different genres and no other music can really claim that. We have country pop, country rock, country rap now, and traditionalism with close ties to bluegrass and Zydeco - and of course the blues is just up the road in Memphis."
"I see Jedd Hughes from time to time," answers Travis to the question of whether he gets out and about much among Nashville's strong Australian contingent. "I'm not sure exactly how many there are, but there would have to be at least 300 Australians in Nashville full-time.
"We've got some songwriters doing very well over there and of course Keith's there and I think he's a good role model for us all as far as what can be done... But yeah, Nashville is some place."
This Corner is out now.
Travis will be appearing at the Tamworth Festival from January 15th through to the 26th.
For more information, visit his official website.
More about travis list, tamworth festival, Country music, kristy cox, Nashville
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