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Travis Shallow Looks Back And Forward On “HTWTT”

Travis Shallow, born on July 31, 1984, has made a name for himself as an American singer-songwriter, musician, and recording artist.

Known for his solo career and his time with alternative country band A Few Good Liars, Shallow's ability to weave captivating stories through his music has resonated with fans and critics alike. His commitment to his craft and unique vocal personality, reminiscent of legends like Willie Nelson and Otis Redding, has set him apart in the music scene.

Shallow's latest single, "HTWTT," released on Pearly Girl Records on March 31st, 2023, is a heartfelt country song about coming to terms with the past and present. With its emotive melodies and evocative lyrics, the song serves as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the beauty of resilience in the face of adversity. As a testament to the power of personal growth and self-discovery, "HTWTT" showcases Shallow's innate ability to connect with listeners on a profound level through his music.

Drawing inspiration from personal experiences and the world around him, Shallow has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding of the complexities of human emotions. His music reflects the intricacies of the human experience, touching on themes such as love, loss, and the power of letting go. This has been seen in previous works like "Let It Pass," a song beautifully captures the struggle of holding onto something that has long since faded away.

The song's rich, evocative lyrics are complemented by its emotive melodies, creating an atmosphere that invites introspection and reflection. As Shallow takes the listener on a journey through the highs and lows of life, his powerful storytelling is made even more impactful by his distinct vocal style. His voice's raw emotion and sincerity allow the listener to feel the weight of the song's message, offering a sense of catharsis and understanding.

"HTWTT" is a beautiful and poignant country song that showcases Travis Shallow's remarkable talent for storytelling and his ability to create music that speaks to the human experience. With its emotive melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and timeless sound, the song offers a powerful message of resilience and personal growth. It is a shining example of Shallow's artistry and his ability to connect with listeners through the universal language of music.

Reflect on this one, out on all platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Travis Shallow; cheers to your raw truth on your latest single, "HTWTT" The lyrics of "HTWTT" resonate deeply with listeners, touching on the complexities of reconciling one's past and present. Can you share specific events or realizations that inspired you to address this theme in your music?

I was in a waiting room waiting to be called, and I think there are these mundane tasks that we do as humans where our minds can drift to another place while on autopilot, and it happens to me at random times—mowing the grass, sitting outside in the sun with coffee in the morning. I start to see this almost “b-roll” cinema playing in my head of childhood memories, close calls, and people I haven’t thought of in years. At first glance, some of the memories on re-call seem to have no real ties to the present moment, but I think they do. We all replay that film on how we got to the moment. The losses, the temporary moments of peace, and the childhood joys before the adult world got a hold of us. The little moments that seem to be fleeting and just out of reach. Those memories ARE important, and I wanted to write a song that touched on that replay.

The " HTWTT " melodic structure beautifully complements the song's evocative lyrics. Can you describe your creative process for developing the melodies and harmonies that capture the essence of your narrative?

This one started to like the always do, me in a chair with an acoustic guitar. The verses and chorus came quickly because the song's imagery is the memories replaying in my own moment of this mind-wandering-trance I mentioned. (Mowing the grass is a hotbed for this right now) What's that about? My Uncle Tommy used to drive an old blazer and could do flawless backflips un-tucked on the trampoline as a man in his late 30s. As a kid, it blew my mind to watch. I was also on the way to Tennessee when the breaks went out, as in, on the highway and hit the brakes, and they went to the floor and did nothing. Terrifying. Luckily made an off-ramp to an exit unscathed, but that memory is burned forever, I’m sure. So I wanted to dive into these memories, make them timeless in a song, and see if putting them to paper gave me any more clarity or revealed something. I usually get a song more flushed out before gathering any musicians to record it or diving into the production myself. But this time, I took this raw version down the street to a dear friend of 20 years and talented producer and songwriter of his own right, Tom Gossin, and did the production and flushed it out. I loved what the blueprint looked like, but it needed a lift moment, and Tom helped craft the bridge. We did a vocal take and had a great working session. I usually don’t co-write much, but after this one came out as it did, I’m thinking of diving into that world more when a song is almost there but needs that extra sauce. I would craft songs alone and revise and edit them until it was clean. But this song opened a new door, and might do this more, especially with my calibre of songwriter friends. But then, covid derailed us.

The song then got shelved with Covid in full swing, and those times were hard. But I knew that song needed to finish; it had good bones, but the timing was off. Then one day, I got a DM from a songwriter and producer that I’d watched from afar for years. He had seen some videos on IG and reached out about working together. But rewind, 12 years before that, while in Mississippi making a record, a documentary about a band came out called “Golden Days.” It was about the band The Damnwells and followed the arc of them being signed to a major label, making a record, and everything that follows—the full scope of peaks and valleys. The frontman for that band was Alex Dezen. I was hooked. I followed his career from afar, and every solo release became my everyday soundtrack and playlist. So to see a message from a songwriter I admired like that out of the blue was a moment for me. We hit it off like old friends and wanted to work on something together, and I remembered that song. I sent him a big folder of unreleased songs, and he quickly said, “That one first.” So we got to work.

The foundation was there, but Alex saw a different variation with fresh ears of what was there and finished producing it. We went down that new path and got it to what you hear today. We found ourselves close to the finish line but needed one more thing. something sparkly to give it another lift. Keys. So I contacted an incredibly talented drummer and producer friend in Portland, Steve Drizos, and asked if his wife might be interested in taking a pass or two on this song. His wife is Jenny Conlee-Drizos from the Grammy-nominated band The Decemberists. I'll never understand how I have super-talented friends like this, but she hopped on board, and we recorded key tracks the next day. That was the last ingredient in the sauce. I’ve been saying it a lot lately cause it’s true, sometimes the flowers arrange themselves. The song you hear now was finished. Alex also took on the task of the final mixing and mastering. So as you can see, this song touched more hands and ears than any of my previous songs. It became a family affair, and I liked this new process.

As a storytelling artist, your ability to create engaging narratives is apparent in "HTWTT." Can you discuss any literary or artistic influences that have shaped your approach to songwriting and storytelling?

I’m a big Foy Vance fan; I have been following his stuff for years. He’s one of those songwriters. And even though this song is not right up that same alley regarding genre, it’s impossible for his sonic influence not to have made its way into this. He was on heavy repeat during these sessions.

"HTWTT" delivers a powerful message of resilience and personal growth. Can you share insights on how this theme has affected your life and what you hope your audience will learn from your experiences as they listen to the song?

I’ve been sober for 7 and a half years, and this song touches on that in the last verse. It’s kind of the gut punch at the end. Even with all that clean time, those old coping mechanisms show their face when life comes at you fast. I’ve decided not to drink anymore, but I’ve learned that the things and choices you make when nobody looks are the hardest. That’s the real shit. And it’s taken me a long time to be an ally for myself. It can be a daily grind. But I’ll tell you, life is better when I stay the course and keep a clean nose. It’s an armour I’ve had to build up each time I make that next right choice. And song by song, I think I’m getting there and deepening that relationship within myself and with my audience.

As your career progresses and "HTWTT" finds success, what direction do you envision for your future musical endeavours? Are there any untapped themes, genres, or collaborations you're excited to explore in your upcoming work?

I’ve started producing with other artists in the last couple of years, and that’s been a real joy that I didn’t see coming. The downtime we all experienced the last few years gave me permission to try other things that usually weren’t in my deck of cards. Right now, I’m working with a talented songwriter named Ethan Hanson, and we have music of his dropping next month on my label, Pearly Girl Records. A song called “Light The Way.” Good. Investing my time into other people's work has helped me look at my own work in a new light. It’s been a win-win that I will stay open to if the timing is right. I also have a few more singles I’m releasing over the next few months and a live album (I recorded from 209 episodes of my live stream I do every Wednesday at 6 pm Eastern time on all my socials). I’ve cherry-picked songs from these live performances that cover my entire catalogue and mixed this one myself. It’s like a thank you to everyone who has tuned into that stream over the last few years. That’s a community that’s been a real silver lining for me. So busy year ahead. And I’m here for it; busy is good when the songs keep coming.


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