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“I feel so humbled and blessed to be where I am right now,” says Travis, who will release the album on his own Post Oak Records. “My voice has never been stronger, I’m constantly playing and working to become a better guitar player, banjo player, vocalist and songwriter. I am honestly as excited about the creative process and performing now as I was the day I signed my first record deal.”
The highly abbreviated Tritt timeline has the Georgian incorporating lifelong influences in Southern Rock, blues and gospel into his country during a honky-tonk apprenticeship that led him to Warner Bros. His 1990 debut Country Club and its succession of hits put him in the vanguard of the genre’s early ’90s boom, dubbing him as one of “The Class of ‘89,” which included Country music superstars Garth Brooks, Clint Black and Alan Jackson; all whom dominated the charts in the early ‘90s.. At the same time, his conspicuous lack of a cowboy hat and musical aggressiveness set him apart. The next eight albums and scores of hit singles led him to amass more than 25 million in career album sales, two Grammys, three CMA Awards and a devoted fan base that filled venues coast-to-coast. He’s also become a force in Atlanta sports, performing at the 1996 Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series Game, the opening of the Georgia Dome, the final Braves game at Atlanta-Fulton Country Stadium and, in 2013, the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
A 2006 recording session for a Sam Moore album proved fateful when producer, musician and American Idol judge Randy Jackson complimented Travis on his vocals. The meeting led to co-production collaboration on Tritt’s next album, which would eventually be titled The Storm. The name, unfortunately, fit in ways no one would have expected.
Released in 2007 on the independent Category 5 Records, The Storm soon became embroiled in one. The company founder was funding the label through ill-gotten revenue in his principle business. “Because of the legal problems he ran into, which eventually led to him going to jail, the promotional push dried up and the label eventually failed,” Travis explains. “The album never really got an opportunity to see the light of day. We did release a single and we got great response with reviews, but there was never a properly executed marketing or promotion plan.”
Great response is putting it mildly. People wrote, “Jackson effectively brings out the soul in the country singer on cuts that venture into gospel and blues terrain.” The Associated Press said, “Tritt roars back with The Storm.” Boston Phoenix called the album “proof that even today the difference between rural blues and rural country is just a matter of pigmentation.”
Nevertheless, the label’s demise sank the project and led to years of litigation. The final settlement, reached in 2012, remitted master recordings for The Storm to Tritt. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. “I’ve been talking about starting my own record label for five years, and it all hinged on having those masters back in my control so we could kick off with that.” Hence, The Calm After ….
Pleased as Travis was at the opportunity to re-introduce music he’d poured himself into, he was also intent on fulfilling his initial vision. Originally a 12-track release, the album’s sessions actually yielded 14 finished recordings, with the two unreleased selections being Tritt’s take on the band Faces’ “Stay With Me” and the Patty Smyth-Don Henley duet “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” The latter had been intended as a pairing with an established female country artist. “When we were closing out the album, the timing was off because the scheduling just didn’t work out for the short list of women I thought had the soul to make that song special. So we basically shelved it.”
Fast forward several years, and Tritt discovered that if the perfect duet partner doesn’t materialize, you can always grow your own. On a family car trip, the unreleased track came up on his iPod. “My 15-year-old daughter Tyler Reese, who had never heard the song, started singing along in the backseat. When it ended she had me play it again five or six times. I was listening to her sing it and I was impressed, but I didn’t say anything. When we got home, I told my wife that I thought she could really do a great job on this song. We agreed, so I took her in the studio last year and had her sing the female parts. I know I sound like a biased parent, but she really did nail it and the proof is in the track.”
As his daughter’s voice takes wing, Travis Tritt finds his own career enjoying a new spring. He already has plans to follow the initial release with a variety of music projects, including a new, mostly acoustic project with former No Hats Tour chum Marty Stuart. “We’ve got four tracks done on sort of a throw-back project that is on the exact other end of the spectrum from The Calm After …, which is very heavily produced,” Travis explains. “I’m playing acoustic guitar, Marty is on acoustic and mandolin, there’s an upright bass, keys, light percussion and that’s it.”
Tritt had a busy 2013 with a full-band production tour in 2013, following three years of well-received solo-acoustic shows, and 2014 is proving to be just as busy. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his music career, Tritt is touring the U.S. and Canada promoting his new album.
Through it all, music is still what gives him joy. “I turned 50 years old this year, strictly going off the date my mother told me that I was born,” he laughs. “I need to go back and check my birth certificate, because I don’t feel that old. In my head, I still feel like I’m 28-years-old. I have the same energy, the same amount of love for live performance and for working in the studio that I had when I was first getting started.”
“The odd thing is, and I can’t explain this, but I think I’m singing better than I did in my 20s and 30s. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but there’s just a control that comes with maturity. Plus, I’ve got a higher range now than I had when I was in my early 30s. And since we started doing the acoustic shows, people come up to me commenting on my singing or, more often, my guitar playing.
“I get that a lot. In fact, that’s how I ended up working with Randy Jackson. After I came out of the vocal booth on that Sam Moore session, Randy looked at me and said, ‘Man, I had no idea that you had that blue-eyed soul thing going on.’
“We’ve even joked about having t-shirts made up that say, ‘I Never Knew Travis…’ followed by phrases like, ‘Played The Banjo Like That,’ ‘Can Sing Like That,’ ‘Had That Many Hits,’ ‘Is That Good A Guitar Player.’, etc. You know, it’s fun,” he smiles. “At 50, to still have a career and be able to surprise people with music – I’m humbled and very thankful. It’s a God given gift.” Which is another way of saying that for Travis Tritt, it’s nothing but clear skies, open windows and dry pavement ahead.
Ziggy Marley Biography
A six-time Grammy winner, Emmy Winner, humanitarian, singer, songwriter and producer, Ziggy Marley has released twelve albums t much critical acclaim. His early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. As front man to Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, the group released eight best-selling albums that garnered three Grammys, with such chart-topping hits as “Look Who’s Dancing,” “Tomorrow People” and “Tumbling Down.” Ziggy’s first solo album, Dragonfly (RCA Records), was released in 2003. His second solo release, Love is My Religion (Tuff Gong Worldwide), won a Grammy in 2006 for “Best Reggae Album.” His third solo album, Family Time (Tuff Gong Worldwide), scored him a 5th Grammy award for “Best Children’s Album.” In 2011, Ziggy released his critically acclaimed 4th studio album Wild And Free, which earned him a Grammy nomination, as well as his first ever comic book entitled MARIJUANAMAN. Ziggy Marley Organics, a GMO-free product line including flavored coconut oils and hemp seed snacks, was started in 2012. The products are distributed throughout the US and are available in over 1000 stores nationwide. His 2012 live album “Ziggy Marley In Concert,” recently earned him his 6th Grammy award for “Best Reggae Album.” To coincide with the release of his latest album “Fly Rasta,” Ziggy is putting out his debut children’s book “I Love You Too,” a coproduction of Akashic Books and Tuff Gong Worldwide on April 15th, 2014. The multicultural picture book is based on one of Ziggy’s most beloved songs of the same title from his Grammy Award-winning album “Family Time,” which explores a child’s relationship with parents, nature and the unstoppable force of love.
Recording artist, actor, philanthropist, restaurateur…just a few of the befitting titles for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who first gained worldwide acclaim more than 10 years ago with his debut album, Back for the First Time (2000). Ever since, his unrivaled lyrical prowess, dynamic performances and timeless hits including “Stand Up,” “Get Back,”, “Number One Spot,” “Money Maker,” and “My Chick Bad,” have solidified him as one of music’s best entertainers and led to the sale of more than 20 million albums domestically.
With the 2013 release of LUDAVERSAL, fans can look forward to more great music from Ludacris.
In addition to immense commercial success, Ludacris’ consistent output of stellar music has garnered the admiration of his peers, as well as numerous awards and honors including three Grammys.
The same talent and versatility that Ludacris showcases in his music has enabled him to make a seamless and successful transition to acting, with acclaimed performances in films including Crash, Hustle & Flow and the #1 movie, No Strings Attached in January 2011, and television’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, under his belt. His work in Crash earned him the prestigious Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice awards. He co-starred in The Fast & The Furious film series, Fast Five, which debuted at #1 in April 2011 and in May 2013, he will co-star in the latest installment of the series, Fast Six.
In addition to his non-stop efforts in the studio, on stage and on the big and small screens, Ludacris’ long held entrepreneurial spirit led him to open a restaurant, Straits, in Atlanta, GA in 2008 which he closed after 2 years in business to concentrate on the opening of his new restaurant, Chicken n Beer, which opens in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Concourse D in 2013. Along with launching his own spirit, Conjure Cognac in 2009, Ludacris also entered into a partnership to launch SOUL by Ludacris headphones, which entered into the market in the summer of 2011. Both of these ventures have captured the attention and affection of the public and firmly established themselves in their respective markets in a short time.
Although one could wonder how Ludacris finds the time for anything outside of work, his artistic and business fortitude is only rivaled by his desire to give back and use his success to change the lives of others. This passion inspired him to establish the Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to inspire youth through education and memorable experiences to live their dreams by uplifting families, communities and fostering economic development.
In 2010, MSNBC.com named Ludacris, along with other eminent figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet, as one of today’s most effective influencers on American culture. With his feet firmly planted in so many diverse areas, we can certainly see why.
Proving that they are not your average country band, Old Dominion blends old-fashioned country charm, lyrical wit and rock n’ roll grit into radio-friendly, hook-heavy pop nuggets. The band has emerged as one of the hottest breaking bands in country music, fusing clever lyrics and an infectious sound. Old Dominion recently released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Happy Endings, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart & #7 on the Top 200. The band’s first single “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” also hit #1 on Country Mediabase Chart, followed by their second fastest-rising single, “Written In The Sand” hitting #1 on Country Mediabase and Billboard Charts.
Old Dominion released their first full-length album Meat and Candy, which was certified GOLD by the RIAA and hailed a “stellar debut “by Entertainment Weekly and declared “one of the hottest breaking bands in county music” by Vice. The group already has several top selling singles under their belts, including the two-week No.1 “Break Up With Him” (PLATINUM), “Snapback” (GOLD) and “Song For Another Time,” which hit No. 1 the on Billboard Country Airplay and MediaBase charts. In 2016, the band was notably named ACM New Group of the Year, ACCA Breakthrough Group of the Year, AIMP Songwriter Artist of the Year and Music Row Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Old Dominion consists of lead singer Matthew Ramsey, lead guitarist Brad Tursi, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung and drummer Whit Sellers.
Every story has two sides, and that adage is certainly true for Kaleo, the four-piece band from Iceland who now call the US home. Call it a split upbringing: the isolated heritage that results from coming of age in Iceland has paired with the fresh inspiration of moving to America, and the band has built a sound to match the disparate landscapes. A gorgeous and raucous blend of rock, folk and blues, Kaleo’s debut LP embodies that very spirit of duality: titled A/B, the album showcases the band’s multi-layered dynamics and ability to play different genres with equal skill.
Best friends since attending elementary school outside of Reykjavik, bandleader JJ Julius Son, drummer David Antonsson, and bassist Daniel Kristjansson began playing together at the age of 17 before adding guitarist Rubin Pollock to the mix in 2012. They named the band Kaleo, which means “the sound” in Hawaiian, and started their career in with a handful of well-received shows at the 2012 Iceland Airwaves music festival. The band signed to Elektra/Atlantic and moved to the States in early 2015, choosing Austin as their new base.
“It has obviously been a big change coming from a small country of 300 thousand people in Iceland to the USA with over 300 million people,” says JJ Julius Son. “We’ve learned a lot, and we are more experienced now than when we first came. Overall it’s been a great adventure.” The past year has been a busy one for the band, as they’ve played nearly nonstop—including over 45 US states—as well as notching a spot on the soundtrack to HBO’s hit show Vinyl and recording a full length album with the producer Jacquire King in Nashville.
The concept behind A/B comes from Julius Son’s love of the split sides of vinyl records and their ability to showcase an artist’s different sides. “I write very different songs that many would like to label into different genres,” he says. “The idea of A/B is to show the diversity and the two sides of the band.” The “A” side is more rock and roll and blues (opener “No Good,” “Way Down We Go,” “Hot Blood”), while the “B” side is a bit softer with more ballads (“All the Pretty Girls,” “Vor I Vaglaskogi,” and closer “I Can’t Go On Without You”). But no matter which side you’re on and which song is playing, the sound can only be that of Kaleo.
A/B was primarily produced and recorded with King, the esteemed production icon whose past work with talented artists as varied as Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Buddy Guy, James Bay, and Of Monsters and Men helped Kaleo showcase both their louder and softer sides. In addition to the sessions in Nashville, Kaleo wrote and recorded in various other locales around their new home in the US as well as a few different sessions around the world, from their home of Iceland to Spain and London as well. Additional production contributions to the album in these various sessions came from Mike Crossey, Arnar Guðjónsson and the band.
Starting off A/B with a bang, “No Good” welcomes in the “A” side with its crunching, bluesy stomp-rock. Julius Son’s deep, raspy growl is perfectly paired to the band’s snarling assault, and sets the bar high for the rest of the record to come. “Kiss your baby goodbye,” he purrs, and with that, we’re off and running.
“Way Down We Go” is filled with bluesy angst and anchored by piano and rhythmic, pounding drumming. Julius Son’s vocals shift into the higher registers just as easily as they find their home at the bottom.
“All the Pretty Girls” leads off the “B” side, and in a sense it was the song that started it all for Kaleo in the beginning. In the spring of 2014, they recorded the lush, introspective song and in one night their destiny to outgrow their small, island nation was cemented, as it spread like wildfire across the airwaves.
“Vor I Vaglaskogi” is a traditional Icelandic love song, and the only one sung in the band’s native language. The song’s beauty and power transcend the fact that most in their newly found worldwide audience will not be able to understand it. And for Julius Son, that notion fits right in with how he likes his lyrics to be interpreted anyway.
“I prefer to let the listener decide what each song means to them instead of me telling my own personal connection,” he says. “Some of the songs are very personal for me, though—some more than others. But it seems that different people connect to songs in a different way, often based on personal experiences or things that you are going through at that time.”