It’s a quiet confidence, an air of authority limited to only the most studied artists, a commanding irreverence woven with a thread of vulnerability. There’s something inexplicably authentic about Oklahoma’s Travis Linville, and it’s carried him from dive bars and classrooms to “The Tonight Show” and esteemed theaters and festivals across the globe.
Linville is legendary regionally for his work in the now-defunct Burtschi Brothers and for his behind-the-scenes influence—including producing John Fullbright’s first album and teaching guitar lessons to a then nine-year-old Parker Millsap. The “Oklahoma Gazette” rightly called him a “godfather of modern Oklahoma folk” and noted that his success opened doors for a state teeming with talent: a mentor and contemporary for other Oklahoma acts like Fullbright, Millsap, Turnpike Troubadours and John Moreland.
His acclaimed solo releases include 2012’s “Sun or Moon” and 2014’s “Out on the Wire” EP, called “rich, soulful and beautiful” by Jimmy LaFave. A live audition of a track from the latter even netted him a role in a William H. Macy film, in which he performed the song.
A gifted instrumentalist, Linville is also known for his work as a sideman with Texas songwriter Hayes Carll, who calls him “criminally underrated.” He’s also performed with Willie Nelson, Tommy Allsup and Ryan Bingham and shared billing with Merle Haggard, Other Lives and Billy Joe Shaver, among countless others.
Independently, Linville has sold 15,000 albums and played thousands of shows across his 20-plus year career, with an ever-evolving repertoire deeply rooted in songcraft, sly humor and subtlety.
"Travis Linville writes, plays and sings music the way it's supposed to be done,” Carll says. “With depth, heart and soul. One of my all-time favorite musicians."
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