Broke in Eleven Places
"Write what you know." No one had to tell Texas singer-songwriter Travis Saturday those four key words of creative advice. It's what he does naturally, can't help but do so, in fact. And it's also one big reason why the 12 songs on his debut album Broke in Eleven Places resonate with the ring of truth as well as vivid echoes of real life experience. Broke in Eleven Places is something of a song cycle that begins with "Back Down," a defiant farewell to a love gone bad, and ends with "Here I Go Again," a lovely and musically sparse summation of the effects on Saturday's soul and life from the women who inspired the songs on the album. "They're based on the 11 most influential women in my life," he explains. "Most were lovers, some were friends, and all of them influenced the decisions I made, good and bad, when I would come to a fork in the road." Produced by Ken Tondre - best known in the Lone Star State music world as the drummer for Kevin Fowler - and recorded with top Texas players at his Austin studio The Compound, Broke in Eleven Places runs the musical spectrum from the hard rocking country of "Texas Education" to the heart-wrenching balladry of "I May Love You." Among the gamut of moods it touches on are temptation ("Fire Tonight"), loss ("Good Morning Goodbye"), tempestuous love ("Just In Time"), a longing for emotional peace ("Hold Me Down") and the pleasures of the open road ("Waiting In Phoenix"), all of it drawn from Saturday's personal experiences. As the metaphor of "Half The Hell Haggard Has" makes clear, it's an album of songs that sprung from living and loving as hard as one man can. While he was born and raised in Houston, Travis Saturday has a background that's both urban and rural. "I was a city boy who had dual citizenship," he explains, thanks to spending most every weekend while he was growing up in the small town of Hallettsville, where much of his family has farmed for generations. And it was over those weekends that he was all but literally weaned on music. "My father played in a dancehall band called Gold Dust, and he'd take my brother and I along to the shows. There was a period there when I spent every Saturday night in a different Texas town, at a different dancehall. The old wooden buildings with carpet covered stages, wooden dance floors slick with sawdust full of couples dancing and laughing, it was an atmosphere I'll never forget" he explains. Surrounded as he was by music, Saturday started creating lyrics set to melodies not long after. In a song he titled "Sunday Blues" that he recorded on an old Radio Shack cassette recorder at the tender age of eight, Travis sang about getting a divorce in the first verse, and then in the next verse about losing his second wife in a tragic accident. It took a whole lot of living over a dozen or so years for Travis Saturday to get from the first real song that he wrote to finally releasing his first album. But after 15 jobs, 14 moves, eight relationships, five college campuses, four bands, three arrests, and one ruptured spleen, Broke in Eleven Places is here to announce his arrival on the Texas music scene. And it takes but a spin of the CD to hear how that journey has led Saturday to a powerful place of lyrical wisdom, insight and honesty as well as a musical style that skillfully rides the razor's edge between country and rock.