fter he opened with the rocking "Put Some Drive in Your Country," Travis Tritt said, "A lot of people say to me, 'Travis, I love country music, but a lot of it don't sound country no more'."
Well, as the lights glistened on the prominently displayed pedal steel and guitar rack as he boot scooted around the stage, it was clear that this night was going to be the cure for what ails the traditionalists.
The sold-out crowd got a two-hour dose of the country rock that has become increasingly scarce in the landscape of live country shows. The set was heavy on classic covers - seven to be exact - and was and highlighted by a double shot of Waylon Jennings with "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and "Lonesome Orn'ry and Mean" played in rapid succession.
The stage setup was appropriately minimal with a few Marshall stacks and simple spots that flashed red and green sometimes to celebrate the season. Tritt is generally not known for his guitar chops, but is an excellent player. He was equally effective on the gritty Les Paul as he was on his acoustic delivering the emotional "Anymore."
The band played with an almost telepathic precision and an ability to be aggressive without being too loud. Despite recently releasing his first studio album in a decade, he only played two songs from "Set in Stone." There is an art and a purity to shows of seasoned artists. All you really need are great real country songs, ambition and being in it for the love of the craft. Tritt's show is a template that today's country artists should regard as a gold standard playbook.