Norman Transcript // Travis Linville's "Up Ahead" a subtle and comforting standout

Travis Linville's "Up Ahead" a subtle and comforting standout

Artist: Travis Linville

Album: “Up Ahead”

In the title track of Travis Linville's latest album, "Up Ahead" tells a lyrical fib. “Not bound for glory/ just along for the ride” he sings. There’s freight train imagery in the song as well, naturally bringing to mind Woody Guthrie’s “This Train is Bound for Glory.” Linville may not be a legend at this point in his career like the Bard of Okemah became, but he has undeniably made a mark beyond just being “along for the ride.” This new album of ten original songs played by Linville and four other Oklahoma musicians ups the ante on his bid for singer / songwriter glory. 

Mirroring his low-key personality the music is subtle and comforting. It’s a gentle and sophisticated set of songs with genuine listening pleasure. Although the notion had never occurred before hearing track 4, “Finding My Way,” Linville’s vocals resemble Billboard chart topper and teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson (1940-1985). 

It’s no whopper to say that the long-time mentor to other musicians and Hayes Carll’s virtuosic side-man guitarist also has a honeyed voice. “Bar Room” is among this collection’s most poignant and truthful songs. “It’s the only place I call home,” he sings. That’s because musicians in Linville’s genre often refer to themselves as suds salespeople. 

“Wishes” is a sweet tune. It expresses the sentiments that no doubt have burnished his reputation as one who encourages others in their art. 

“Two Times the Fool” finds Linville at his strongest as a vocal stylist. His phrasing and intonation here are impeccable. “Finding My Way” is similarly appealing at a faster cadence.

 Linville is moving full speed ahead with this disc. It’s expected he’ll look back someday, remembering it as when he put the pedal to the metal.

Travis Linville