Norman, Oklahoma native Travis Linville has been around for twenty years and for all intents and purposes, this latest album – his fifth – Up Ahead could be the magic moment where he finally gets the recognition due him as this is a fine, fine collection of ten songs as one could want or hope for. Warm, personal, melodic and hopeful; it’s a fully-realized “human” album. It’s also great to hear someone whose vocals fit the emotion of each song as Mr. Linville has a very warm, very embracing delivery.
The simple beauty of “Flowers In Your Hair” is a reminiscence of love at first sight – a musical smile that never gets wistful or cloying, but joyful; “Wishes” is a poppier piece but again, exudes positive feelings and the message is one of better things as the band plays a simple modern country tune, crisp and easy to embrace and “Finding My Way” has neat reverb guitars as the opening riff and yearning slides along with a catchy chorus. “Bar Room” is a throwback to classic country with twangy guitars intertwined with sweeping pedal steel runs and a sad tale of being alone while drinking and remembering happier times – and the piano solo is tasteful and gripping as it yields to the sweetness of the pedal steel. “Fade To Winter” is a highlight for me as I very much love the shuffle-beat to this track and what sounds like a Resonator solo; “Waltz Across Lonesome” is just that – a country waltz and “Worried Mind” is a perfect way to close this album – a lush, guitar-drenched number with tension, drama and yet restrained (the absence of percussion was a deft move in this song’s arrangement).
I’m very glad to have come across this album. Travis Linville is a force unto himself and hopefully with Up Ahead, good things and much greater recognition is not too far off.
Up Ahead will be released Friday, February 3rd, 2017