In a country music industry inundated by pop inclinations, Travis Tritt hearkened back to the 1990’s scene into which he broke. When singers like Alan Jackson, Terri Clark, George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Tritt relied less heavily on references to Hank/Willie/Waylon or a slight southern twang.
“Smoke in a Bar” spoke explicitly to family values. This title was a generational microcosm of Tritt’s substantive sound to be heard on his May 7th album. The new, long-form work Set in Stone includes eight tracks co-penned by the musician himself.
Though fans might put Shooter Jennings, Brandi Carlile and Jaime Wyatt into a similarly outlaw camp, Tritt’s lyrics focused on a bygone era, one in which the eyeball-desperate media hadn’t bifurcated American culture into such extreme sentiment silos.
For listeners wanting something a little different from current country radio, Tritt lyrically highlighted the benefit of spending fewer hours/day clicking a mouse. What human connection looked like before a fear of missing out constrained our lives to a series of digital screens.
While resurfacing those experiences would prove impractical with urbanization, “Smoke in a Bar” will be that four-minute escape from the pressures of everyday life. Jealousy weighing down anyone who’s spent too long swiping through others’ highlight reels on Social.
Life will have happened in the aggregate of little moments. The transitional activities cut out of films and TV for lack of engaging entertainment, but if present to the conversation with that pharmacy technician, prepared to buy dinner for that homeless man flying a sign, or ready to give up a bus seat to that expectant mother, faith in humanity won’t have wanted for strength.