Double Trouble

Travis Tritt has his 'fingerprints' all over his newest album

Marty Stuart says the magic is back after a 'rusty' start to tour

This article appeared in Best Bets - Evansville Courier - July 26, 1996

"I'm in Connecticut with an unexpected day off," country star Travis Tritt said during a recent phone interview. That night's concert, scheduled for an outdoor venue, was postponed after storms spawned by Hurricane Bertha lashed the coast with heavy rains and high winds.

"I very rarely have a day off," he said. "I've been very busy working on the new tour. And I have an upcoming release on August 20. I've been putting promos together for the new album." Tritt can barely contain his excitement about his newest project.

"It's really got my fingerprints all over it," he said. "It's like my child. For all of my career, I've known one way of making records. I wrote most of the songs and Gregg Brown was the producer. In the past, my albums had little snippets of my ideas, at the discretion of the producer."

Tritt said he wanted more control over all aspects of the production this time. Besides producing and writing seven of the album's 11 songs, Tritt also added some other personal touches. "I played guitar for the first time on any of my albums," he said, "I also did most of my own harmony vocals. I even handled the art direction."

One of the new album's songs is a duet with his good friend and current touring partner, Marty Stuart. Their genuine friendship, a rarity in he competitive entertainment business, goes back to the early days of their careers. "Marty and I met backstage at a CMA (Country Music Association) awards show," Tritt recalled. "I was just getting off the ground, and Marty had just started with MCA Records. We passed in the hallway, and we looked at each other and said something like, 'Hey, I really like you'."

Shortly after that first brief meeting, Stuart sent over a song he wanted Tritt to consider recording. "Marty's such a great guitar player," Tritt said. "We brought him in to play, and the producers asked him to sing a verse of the song." That song, "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," turned into one of Tritt's biggest hits.

"Later, when we did the video, Marty and I really clicked," Tritt added. "We spent an entire day together on his bus talking about our backgrounds and our beliefs. We found out that we had a similar upbringing and similar views about the country music industry. When we wrapped shooting on the video, we made a vow to keep the friendship going on no matter how our careers turned out."

The current tour, which stops at Mesker Amphitheater July 27, is the duo's second together. "Marty and I have such a chemistry when we're on stage together," he said, "It's like one plus one equals three."

Always looking for new challenges, Tritt also is looking at several film scripts to further his fledging movie career. "Acting is something I do because it challenges me," Tritt said. "It makes me more creative. I love music, but I've been doing it so long that it almost comes as second nature. I have lots of confidence in what I do musically. Being in front of a camera and becoming a completely different person is a real challenge."

There are some other changes on the horizon for Tritt, who has long been one of Nashville's most eligible bachelors. "I'm taking myself off the market," he declared. "I'm planning a wedding for next April. I'm really looking forward to getting married and to having children."

"The tour's been going wonderfully," Marty Stuart said in a recent phone interview, regarding his latest venture with his good friend and fellow country music star Travis Tritt. "When we first started out, we were a little rusty," he said. "But by the third or fourth night, the magic was back."

The tour, which runs through February, is part of a very busy year for Stuart. He just released the new CD "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best." He's recorded several "Marty Party" specials for The Nashville Network. And he'll be on hand for the September 17 opening of a special exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville called "The Treasures of Hank Williams."

Stuart, an avid collector of Hank Williams memorabilia, purchased a large collection from the late singer's sister. "I got all sorts of things," he said. "Clothing, a car. The original manuscripts for 'I Saw The Light' and 'Your Cheatin' Heart'."

Stuart says his "dip into TV-land" is over for a while, although he admits that he enjoyed doing the "Marty Party." "I've seen a whole lot more of me on TV lately than I ever wanted to see," he said. "But I thought there needed to be a show on that was a little left of center, something that combined the legends of country music with the new, young performers. Basically, they (the network) gave me a box of crayons and a budget. I was involved in all aspects of putting the show together."

But Stuart says he has no plans to add "actor" to his resume, unlike many of his peers, including Tritt, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis and Lorrie Morgan. "I think they do a fine job of representing us," Stuart said. "I don't think they need me in Hollywood unless, of course, Michelle Pfeiffer just has to have me in one of her movies."

The "Double Trouble" tour came about because of his newly released record and Tritt's upcoming August release. Stuart's record is a mix of hard-driving honky tonk songs and soft, sweet ballads. Unlike Tritt, who intends to tie the marriage knot in April, Stuart doesn't expect to relinquish his title as one of Nashville's most eligible bachelors any time soon.

"It's (the music business) a different way of life," he said. "And it's very hard on a family. I think I know now where the pitfalls and booby traps are. I've already made most of the mistakes. But there's nobody special in my life right now."

Despite his success, Stuart said he's not ready to head off to the mountains and hide, although he does occasionally take a break there to rest and relax. "I'd like another platinum record," he said. It would be nice if this new record went platinum. And more awards would be fine. I understand that whole language of awards and, besides, they're a good thing to hang your hat on."

"Seriously, though, I'm not like some people who say that awards don't mean anything. They do mean something to me. It's nice to have that recognition that people think you're doing a good job."

Article written by Madonna Yancey

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