WEEKEND // Travis Linville brings 'band practice,' new album to Tulsa

Travis Linville brings 'band practice,' new album to Tulsa

Travis Linville has been making music since the late 1990s, but as he sings on a track in his latest album, he’s still “finding my way.”

“I think there’s something too, for me anyway, where you had to diversify. None of the things that I was doing would have kept me afloat, but all of them together made something out of it,” Linville said. “It was a long process, over a decade. A lot of different evolutions of it. I’m certain I’ve heard some of my early songs come on the radio, threw down some money and ran out.”

Those years of work, all of those lessons and experiences, can be heard on “Up Ahead,” set for release Feb. 3. With each project, Linville said he’s getting closer to “what I’m trying to do.”

And those projects have been extensive. In addition to his own songwriting and recording, Linville has spent about a decade playing guitar alongside Texas songwriter Hayes Carll. He’s a highly sought-after producer, who recently produced Carter Sampson’s 2016 album, “Wilder Side,” and played most of the instruments on the album.

Linville said his approach to producing carries over to making his own music: Just get out of the way, let the music breathe and see where it goes.

“I like to really try to build it around their thing,” Linville said. “I think I have a general idea of what I want instrumentation-wise before I ever start. It sort of also becomes more about creating a vibe.”

In “Up Ahead,” Linville did the same, creating an atmosphere around the album in which it can live and grow for the listener, rather than force a note here or an instrumentation there.

“Similar idea to staying out of the way. I’ve evolved into this thing where there aren’t these instrumental heroics; it’s a groove and a vibe. I think this record has a real consistency in that way,” Linville said. “But I also sort of open the floor to some talented people.”

Those musicians include David Leach on bass, Ryan Jones on keys and drums from Matt Duckworth and Mike Meadows. Linville performs vocals, guitar, lap and pedal steel, mandolin and dobro.

In the past, tackling those instruments himself on his album would have been something he would have considered. But part of that growing led him to use a hive mind to bring new ideas on board.

“A lot of those things in the past I have a tendency to do myself,” Linville said. “Like Carter, I played most of the instruments. Through the years, I’ve warmed up to the idea I don’t want to be in control of everything.”

Linville recorded the album in Norman and has spent years in Oklahoma City, though he’s recently moved more of his work to Tulsa, and that includes a weekly show at Mercury Lounge, where, unless he’s on the road, “I loosely call it Wednesday Night Band Practice.”

“We have a little Tulsa band going that’s sounding real good,” Linville said.

Travis Linville