Waiting on Tomorrow

by: Travis Mitchell

Travis Mitchell follows up his self-produced debut with this gem, written, recorded, and produced in 20 short days. This time label head Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down is in the producer's chair, giving the album some spit and polish, without toning down Mitchell's down-home charm. Mitchell and his band, in particular ace lead guitarist Ty Taylor, continue to blend old-school country, honky tonk, Southern rock, and pop for a sound that's modern without sounding Nashville slick. The album signals its country roots with the fiddle that opens "She's That Kind of Girl," but quickly shifts girls into a driving pop/country confection with a trace of hip-hop in Mitchell's rapidly spoken/sung chorus, a tongue twisting tour de force that instantly imprints the hook into your head. Other hardcore country tracks include the pounding 2-step of "Broken Hearts and Beer" with some tasty pedal steel by Taylor and a driving stop-start rhythm, "Cross That Bridge," a fine ballad that glories in new love without underestimating the difficulties of a long-term relationship, and "River Road Rendezvous" driven by Taylor's clanging guitar and Mitchell's sweaty Saturday night in a dancehall vocal. The album's rockers are just as credible. "Ride My Own Way" is a giddy ode to life on the road fueled again by Taylor's frenetic axe work; a heavy metal bridge sets up Taylor's shredding solo just to change the pace a bit. "Only You and Me" is a mid-tempo love song with a hint of Buddy Holly in its rhythm, marked by a fervid vocal from Mitchell. "River Road Rendezvous" blends banjo and electric guitar into a Skynyrd style workout with Taylor tearing up the fretboard again. Ballads are often the downfall of country singers and songwriters, larded down with too many clichés and overwrought sentimentality, traps Mitchell avoids. "Can't Wait Til Tomorrow" is a "goin' back to the gal I left behind me" song with tasty pedal steel and Mitchell's heartfelt, pleading vocal. "This Town Ain't Me" comes at the same subject from the other direction, the country boy who wants to cut loose, but finally realizes that the problems are not the town but himself. Since his first album, cut a little more that a year before Waiting on Tomorrow, Mitchell's singing and songwriting have shown remarkable growth while the band has developed its own powerful presence both on-stage and in the studio. ~ j. poet

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