Travis T. Warren is the singer/songwriter behind Beneath These Borrowed Skies, his debut solo record on Iron Ridge Road Recordings, as well as the frontman of Blind Melon’s post-millennial resurgence and one half of heavy rock duo The Lookout Kids.
Travis’ love and aptitude for music can be traced back to his upbringing in Amarillo, Texas. His father was a virtuoso guitarist (according to Travis, “one of the best guitar players I’ve ever known”), while his mother was a performing singer whose voice drew frequent comparison to Stevie Nicks. His days were spent immersed in the wonders of MTV – which, remarkably, played music back in the day – while evenings were often devoted to jamming with his extended family in front of the living room fire.
Meanwhile, Travis was fervently turning his friends onto a number of his favorite bands at the time – among them, Shannon Hoon’s alt rock big-hitters Blind Melon.
At the age of 17, Travis made the move from Texas to California and founded experimental metal band outfit 00 Metro, before becoming frontman of the equally off-kilter rock outfit Rain Fur Rent. Despite moderate success in the live setting, Rain Fur Rent struggled to capture their sound on record and were viewed cautiously by label A&R, who doubted the commercial appeal of their lengthy and experimental compositions.
But while their quest for a record deal was fruitless, Atlantic Records’ Kevin Carvel was interested in Travis enough to facilitate his introduction to Brad Smith and Christopher Thorn: bassist and guitarist of Blind Melon respectively. The initial intention had been for Smith and Thorn to produce Travis’ first solo album, but such was the connection and mutual respect between the musicians that Travis was quickly deemed an ideal candidate for the vacant position of Blind Melon’s frontman.
His inclusion was announced in 2006, and the new Blind Melon line up went on to play their first shows since previous vocalist Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose back in 1995. The band released For My Friends in 2008 – a full 12 years after the release of their last full length, Nico – with Travis playing a crucial role in the creative process and penning a majority of the album’s lyrics.
In November 2011, Travis started work on his first solo album for Iron Ridge Road Recordings, which is a label affiliated with Pennsylvanian drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre Clarity Way. Beneath These
Borrowed Skies amalgamates Travis’ extensive pool of musical influences, from Slayer to John Prine to Paul Oakenfold, and features the likes of Aja Volkman (from Nico Vega), Christopher Thorn (Blind
Melon) and Eva Gardner (Pink’s backing band) among its guest contributors.
“I wanted this album to be cohesive, but I also wanted it to have all kinds of my influences across the board,” states Travis. “I always thought that if you could do it well, you could dance around different genres and not have to stick to one thing. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.”
The album was produced by Travis and mixed by Rob Schnapf (Elliot Smith, Beck, Guided By Voices), and is due for release this September 25th, 2012. Iron Ridge Road Recordings will donate all of its proceeds
from the record to MusiCares: a charitable arm of the Grammys that provides support for musicians in financial, medical or personal need.
With Travis being a musician in recovery himself, it’s hard to think of a more apt label for his Beneath These Borrowed Skies debut to call home.
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