Chandler Travis Three-O
Backward Crooked From the Sunset
I miss George Carlin. He knew how to make you laugh at how crazy the world can be. Carlin also used his humor to make a larger point. Chandler Travis did a lot of gigs with Carlin with his musical comedy duo, Travis Shook and the Club Wow. The two share a common absurdist world view and a deep appreciation of the human condition.
The Chandler Travis Three-O is Chandler on guitars and vocals, Berke McKelvey on woodwinds and keyboards and John Clark on upright bass. Oh, and Fred Boak is part of the group too. He’s the valet and sings a bit. The group’s sound is hobo countrypolitan; a wonderfully ragged blend of folky melodicism, jazz smarts and show tunes. There are delightful little hooks scattered throughout, a bass clarinet line here, tinkling bells there and the omnipresent bass melodies. As one of the songs points out, “it’s all the little things.”
While all of the tunes on Backward Crooked From the Sunset are nice, there are a few that really stand out. “Settling for Less” is an anthem for all the also-rans. “When you’ve got pretty good, who needs the best, I’m settling for less.” While it could be taken as a loser’s lament, Chandler’s warm vocals a sly turn of phrase belie that it’s about being content and enjoying the life you have.
I think we’ve all known (or been) a “Mayor of Drunktown”. Travis sings “Apparently I overstepped by bounds last night. That’s why I’m apologizing to everyone in sight.” The tune is one man’s Hangover tour wondering here the bruises came from and where his clothes have gone. He concludes with the confession, “It’s possible you might not need me around.”
The last tune I want to single out is “Shut Up”. When this twisted lullaby begins, it sound like Chandler is wearily telling off someone he knows won’t listen. As the song continues, you realize he’s talking to that little voice in your head that tells you all sorts of things you don’t need to hear. I’ve got that voice telling me I’m not good enough. Shut up brain, let me settle for less and enjoy my life.