Travis Tritt | Carolina Theatre | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Travis Tritt 

When: Thu., Jan. 11, 8 p.m. 2018
Price: $45-$60

Take George Jones and rock him up a bit. Dress him in leather, give him a mullet, make his nasal honk even more pronounced, and the finished package is Travis Tritt. Though he borrows Jones's vocal traits, Tritt has always been of the long-haired outlaw persuasion, leaning more toward the scruffy side of country. He's more like a die-hard Southern rocker who happened to like some old-school country.

The singer and guitarist came out of the box with guns blazing, blasting away at the white shoe elites with "Country Club," the title track from his 1990 debut album. When an attractive woman driving down the interstate gives him the eye, Tritt follows her down the clubhouse drive, but she rebuffs him, telling him only members are allowed inside. But Tritt tells her he's a member of a country club, too: "Country music is what I love/ I drive an old Ford pick-up truck/ I do my drinkin' from a Dixie cup/ Hey I'm a bona fide dancin' fool."

And if that wasn't enough to define his mission, Tritt nailed it down with his fourth single from that same album, "Put Some Drive in Your Country." After name-checking the classic dudes he was raised on, Roy Acuff and Jones, Tritt sings that Hank Williams Jr. and Waylon Jennings turned him on to outlaw country at age fifteen. He then unveils his career strategy: "See, I made myself a promise when I was just a kid/I'd mix Southern rock and country, and that's just what I did."

Even though Tritt gets lumped into the outlaw country category, he's generally more genial than most of his peers. While Jennings was often "Lonesome, On'ry, and Mean," Tritt is more flippant and sarcastic, with offerings like "Here's a Quarter, Call Somebody Who Cares." But he can still get down and roll around in the gutter, as he did on a duet with Marty Stuart on the Grammy-winning single "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore," from his 1991 LP, It's All About to Change. Stuart wasn't the only one impressed with Tritt, who managed to recruit an impressive roster of classic county icons to join him on 1992's "Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man," including Jones, Porter Wagoner, and Tanya Tucker.

But Tritt has had no trouble on his own, building a catalog of hits that allow him to do a two-hour show of his own material, selling out theaters with just a guitar and his own self on display. He'll deliver plenty of twang and 'tude when he hits the stage in Durham. —Grant Britt

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