State of Depression
'Lord I love that hurtin' music, cause I am hurtin' too' It's the cry of the honky tonk. As transplanted southerners poured into cities in the north in search of work, they went out at night in search of drink, and the sounds of the home they missed so. They found both in the bars in cites like Baltimore, Washington D.C., Dayton, and Detroit, where the music was supplied by the likes of Buzz Busby, Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, Charlie Moore and Bill Napier, Earl Taylor, and Jimmy Martin. And the volatile combination of alcohol, lonesomeness, and the genius of the men providing the music, made for a sound quite different from the hymns and sentimental songs heard at the bluegrass performances to be found in the churches and school houses in the south. The latest progenitor of this barroom brand of bluegrass is Travers Chandler. Born in Roxboro, North Carolina, Travers' was introduced to bluegrass through the records of Charlie Moore and Bill Napier, and the Stanley Brothers. He started playing square dances around his home town; honing the skills he would eventually maximize as mandolinist for The James King Band, Audie Blaylock and Redline, and most recently, with Danny Paisley The Southern Grass. Now with this release, Travers Chandler has stepped to the front. Backed by the such powerhouse musicians as Mark Delany, Nate Leath, Adam Poindexter, and Blake Johnson, Travers has presented the listener with an homage to the sound of barroom bluegrass he cherishes. You can hear the influences of Buzz Busby in Travers' rendition of the latter's joyride 'Mandolin Tango.' You will hear shades of Frank Wakefield in the kick of Red Allen's 'Have You Come To Say Goodbye.' You can feel the heartache of lost love and one-too-many when a song like 'Stoned at the Jukebox' or the Vernon Oxford chestnut 'State of Depression' pours out the speakers. And you will feel the anguish of one having worked one's self to death in the exquisite lament of the coal miner, 'Black Dust Fever.' In an age of contrived arrangements, slick licks and over-massaged vocals, there still some in the world of bluegrass who understand that heart, feeling, and soul is what really matters. With the album you hold in your hands, Travers Chandler proves himself to be at the forefront among them. - Joseph Scott.