CD- 262 Travers Chandler "Archaic"
"If you can listen to this, and not tell its me, then I haven't done my job."
Travers Chandler was born to it. He came into the world the son of a country-singer mother named Donna Shelton, who sang with such stalwarts as Loretta Lynn at Sunset Park in West Grove, Pa., before marriage, and a father described as a "bluegrass nazi." Born with one foot in classic country and the other in hardcore bluegrass, and to a family not unacquainted with alcohol, Travers pretty much, "grew up out of the womb," but with an intimate familiarity with country and bluegrass music, and a singular talent to meld them both into his own style.
Chandler doesn't remember exactly when he started playing guitar, which he picked up in early youth. He began pursing music in earnest after returning to his mother's original hometown, Roxboro NC:
"I was playing square dances by the age of twelve with some old-time guys, Milo Bowes in Roxboro NC, cousin of the Bowes Brothers, who recorded on the Mutual Label, and were on the WDBA Jamboree in Danville, Va. One night the fiddle player left a mandolin sitting out back, and we had like five guitars going, so I picked it up and started chopping it, and before long it came to me that I really wanted to play the mandolin, before the fiddler saw me and said, 'Hey you little ______, put my mandolin down!'"
By the age of fifteen, Chandler was making a couple hundred bucks a week playing local square dances and realizing that music was what he wanted to do for a living, when the discovery of two records altered his path and narrowed his focus:
"My dad had a Buzz Busby 45, the original "Lost" 45, and I heard the Folkways album of Red Allen and Frank Wakefield. That's the bluegrass album that changed my life forever, period. I really want to play mandolin now. I really want to sing now."
Then Charlie Moore's Wheeling album came into his possession, adding another ingredient to his recipe of influences:
"I remember seeing Charlie on those Moore and Napier albums, all smiling and bright-eyed, and then I get this Wheeling album and at first I wanted to send it back. He had long hair and a grey beard, and I thought, 'What happened to this guy that he aged so much in ten years?' At that moment I became obsessed with learning all I could about Charlie Moore."
By the late 90s, Chandler was playing professionally with the Sand Mountain Boys, who later evolved into Lynwood Lunsford and the Misty Valley Boys. he credits Lunsford for teaching him "all I need to know about being a real professional." From there, he had stints with the likes of Karl Shifflett, Audie Blaylock, and The Bluegrass Brothers, among others, before becoming mandolinist for Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass, which he notes as his big break,
"Probably the best music i played in my life was in that wall of sound. Working with Danny is what set me up to be a solo artist."
Since then Travers has been honing his craft and style as a solo artist, not just playing and singing, but getting to the core of who he is and what he wants to say as a musician, culminating in Archaic:
"I'm at the point now where this is my fourth album, this could be my last album as a solo artist; anything can happen. So I decided I needed to do what I wanted to do. I'm not a Charlie Moore imitator, I'm not a Buzz Busby imitator, I can do a lot of things."
Indeed - Joseph L. Scott