Travis Linville “I’m Still Here”

Black Mesa Records, 2021

Musical simpatico creates a variety of tonal landscapes.

Artwork for Travis Linville album, "I'm Still Here"Seeing the world through the eyes of others can always profit an artist. Think of the producer who has written songs, the studio engineer who has honed their guitar tone as a band member and in Linville’s case the session player who becomes an independent artist. The simpatico generated between Linville and his fellow musicians on this album speaks of mutual understanding and of, “Having been there”. With, Jason Smay on drums, Dominic Davis on bass, and Raynier Jacildo on keys, this is a collective who have worked variously with the likes of, Jack White, the Black Keys, CeeLo Green, and Dwight Yoakam.

The title track greets us with a collaboratively written work between Linville and Natalie Hemby which sings of the difference between what others may imagine about us and the reality of what is. ‘Feeling we used to know’ brings an insistent rock riff and some wonderful trebly keyboards reminiscent of Steve Nieve’s work with Elvis Costello. A couple of the tracks demonstrate a Tom Petty influence, namely, ‘See You Around’ and ‘Blue Sky Bound’; the latter with a change of personnel would sit comfortably on a Travelling Wilbury’s album with its chugging tempo of optimism. Atmospheric guitar, keyboards & vocal harmonies coupled with an insistent snare drum make ‘The Rain’ feel different from the other tracks in character leaning towards a more indie rock sound. Willie Nelson is given due respect with a worthy cover of, ‘Yesterday’s Wine’ which seems, with its slightly slower tempo than the original to be brooding more on the song’s subject matter. Capturing the shambolic feel of The Band with, ‘I Saw You’ gives one of the highlights of the album topped to perfection with a jaunty, ebullient piano.

Be it with acoustic-orientated ballads or more up-tempo songs, Linville’s vocals rise to the occasion. This is an album that acknowledges its roots whilst not being afraid to carve its own path; Linville may still be here for a while yet.

 

7/10
7/10

About Richard Phillips 54 Articles
From the leaden skies of Manchester to the sunny uplands of Cheshire, my quest is for authentic Americana. Love live music, my acoustic guitar and miss my baby (grand piano).

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