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—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.
Jimmy LaFave called Linville’s 2014 “Out on the Wire” EP “rich, soulful and beautiful. A live audition of a track from the record even netted him a role in a William H. Macy film, in which he performed the song.
In 2017, Linville released his self-produced full-length record “Up Ahead." Rolling Stone Country wrote, “Eighties-era Randy Newman with an earnest James Taylor softness, but scuffed up just enough by a guy with plenty of miles on the road… songs that resound with uncomplicated authenticity… subtlety and storytelling with shuffling hints of jazz are what shine through.”
NPR Music chose first single “Wishes” for its Heavy Rotation feature, noting that “the relatable tune, paced by steady percussion and accented by a crying pedal steel, focuses on those ever-escaping moments as folks weave in and out of our lives.”
A gifted instrumentalist, Linville is 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 thousands of 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."