A sound of pure unvarnished Americana defines the urgency of Travis Braden’s “From the Gravel Roads”. The arrangements have a certain intimacy to them forgoing the electric in favor of a living, breathing acoustic fervor. By far the highlight comes from the sheer power of Travis Braden’s soulful vocals. Delivered with a certain degree of poetry his storytelling abilities are immediately apparent. Elements of country, folk, and the blues intermingle to create its own unique universe one that bursts with a tremendous degree of energy.
References abound throughout the whole of the album, pointing towards those singer-songwriters willing to get personal with their audience. With his gentle spirit and oftentimes passionate delivery he touches upon Michael Hurley’s early output, completely honest with his lyricism. The warm inviting sound draws from the comfortable rhythms of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s output, for he too avoids cluttering his compositions letting the simplicity serve as an important ally. Delicate guitar work further adds to the cyclical nature of the approach for the album works best when taken in as a singular whole. Every track builds off the last resulting in a fully unified statement.
Playful to its very core the album opens up on an epic scope with the spacious “Hobo Lean”. Guitars intermingle with vocals further adding to the celebratory giddiness. Not wasting a single moment, “Snippet of a Dream” proves to be a beguiling piece, with so much fire running through it. Reflective elements emerge on the exploration of humility with “Humble”, as the song unfurls at its own stately pace. Really embracing a western twang is the literal toe-tapping spirit of “Rest of My Days”. Easily the highlight, the way the song utilizes a force of nature quality one. The infectious melody lingers in the mind long after the track has ended. On “Concord” Travis Braden strips things down to the absolute essentials.
Determination runs through the poignant “Get Out of Town” as the song is propelled forward. Going for a laid-back groove the dreamy “Beachin” captures a soothing moment, one that feels particularly earned. Completely lovely, the tender tones of “I Told You” proves to be an incredibly yearning, romantic piece. A unique sort of bliss emerges on the surreal scope of “I Don’t Mind”. “Look Who’s in Red Bluff” perfectly closes the album off on a meditative note.
Travis Braden delivers something with raw grit and soul on the intense vision of “Froom the Gravel Roads”.