Concert Review: Travis Tritt at The Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, IN – February 13

[NationalCountryReview.com | John Reasoner | Feb. 18, 2016 ]

Grammy Award-winning Travis Tritt made a stop in Elkhart this past Saturday night for an intimate acoustic show that fans will not soon forget.

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With the wind and snow blowing around outside The Lerner Theatre, 1,600 people plus lined up to go inside for a hot, sold-out show, featuring An Evening With Travis Tritt. Although this was an acoustic show with Travis by himself on stage, it did not seem to alter the excitement from the rowdy crowd that came to partake in the night’s activities.

As Travis took to the stage, he appeared to be taken back by the welcome he received from the boisterous crowd. The yelling and screaming of fans caused Travis to stand alongside his stool for a moment smiling big before having a seat and starting his show.

Travis grabbed his guitar and opened the show by singing a couple of songs back to back. He then welcomed the crowd to his show and made mention that he had only one word to say about Elkhart, Indiana;”brrrr,” as he shook his head back and forth from side to side. “Being from Georgia, this doesn’t work very well. I am freezing my raisins,” he said as he joined the crowd in laughter.

Before singing, Travis talked how in August of 1989, his debut single, “Country Club,” from his album of the same name became the biggest single to date for his record label, Warner Brothers. Since then, Travis has amassed quite a musical library collecting 12 studio albums, six compilation albums, 43 singles with seven number one singles, and winning multiple awards with Billboard, CMA, ACM, and Grammy.

Travis discussed how fans ask him about today’s country music. He said he appreciates what everyone is doing. However, he wishes the new artists would pay more respects to the artists before them that opened doors for everyone. Artists such as Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and so on. He is adamant though that there is no room for rap music. He then sang his hit song, “Country Ain’t Country No More.”

Next, Travis talked about growing up as a child and how music influenced him. He felt that the 1970’s produced the best rock music, with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd. Hooked on Bluegrass music at the time, his uncle used to take him to festivals where he would pick with Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs. Travis also loves the blues and gospel. He tries to incorporate all of this into his singing.

On Sundays, Travis spent time with his father listening to the Grand Ole Opry where he first heard Bobby Bare sing “500 Miles.” He also heard it sang by Jerry Reed, another great singer-songwriter. When adding the song to his show, Travis combined the version from each artist to give it another distinctive sound.

Adding a little comedy to his show, Travis showed some age (53) by explaining that he doesn’t use the Internet to Google words. As he was growing up, “you didn’t have Internet to Google words, you had a Webster’s dictionary to look and find the word,” he said.

Today, Travis relies on his Webster’s Dictionary app on his phone. When he decided to play an instrumental song in his show, he stated that most people don’t know what an instrumental is. He laughed and talked about going to ‘The Redneck Dictionary’ where it states, “a song with no sangin’ in it.” He then started picking away on his guitar to “Pickin’ At It.”

Travis talked about his move to Nashville, and the industry labelled him an outlaw based on his association with the “bad boys of country,” such as David Allen Coe, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings. He made the comment how he missed three important men in his life; his Dad, Johnny Cash and Waylon. He sang Johnny’s “I Walk The Line” before paying tribute to Waylon with “Are You Sure Hank Did It This Way,” “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” and “Good Ol’ Boys.”

Coming to Nashville and being signed to a record label in 1989 made him part of a unique group called the Class Of 1989. This group included other up-and-coming artists, such Garth Brooks, Clint Black and Alan Jackson. Due his preference for wearing leather instead of a cowboy hat and ironed blue jeans, he was labeled an outcast. However, as a whole, these four gentlemen sold more albums and more concert tickets than all of country music preceding.

As Travis grew up in the 70’s, he came to like the music of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. As a fan of the Beatles, he had a brainstorm to add the song, “Help,” into his show. He also recorded the Elvis hit, “Burning Love” from the movie, Honeymoon In Vegas, which opened the door for him to record “T-R-O-U-B-L-E”.

As Travis got up from his stool, the crowd still feeling pumped from the performance gave him a standing ovation as he left the stage.

With chants of “Travis” echoing into the rafters of The Lerner Theatre, Travis returned to the stage feeling overwhelmed by the love from the volumes of the crowd. After sitting back down on his stool, he joked with the crowd by saying, “You can be seated now,” laughing as he commented that he has always wanted to say that, and repeated it again.

Travis thanked the crowd for the standing ovation and for coming out to support him. He told fans that he would never have believed that people would come and sell out multiple venues to see him do an acoustic show. He finished the evening off by singing “Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde.”

With the show billed as An Evening With Travis Tritt, an acoustic show, most people expected just to have Travis sit/stand on stage and play his music acoustically. What they received instead was Travis on stage playing his songs acoustically as he told his life in an autobiographical story. For two hours and forty minutes, fans enjoyed the story of what makes up this great artist, as described by Travis Tritt himself. After this performance, it is easy to see why the Class Of 1989 changed the direction and mentality of country music.

Thank you to the fine folks at The Lerner Theatre and Dusty Guitar Promotions for bringing another great show to the people of Elkhart and the surrounding areas. Shows like this are sure to sell out, as this one did. Just a sure sign that not everyone needs bro-country to have a good time as older country is still alive and doing well.

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