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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Tritt hits the soft, country side

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, Cal., Oct. 22, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

CERRITOS, CA - His bio describes Travis Tritt as a "bluesy southern-rock singer," but while he won't ever hide that southern twang in his voice, one could hardly label this man as any kind of a legitimate rock singer. Based upon his healthy two-hour performance this night, Tritt proved to be a much more traditional country singer than his reputation might lead you to believe.

Even in the places you most expected Tritt and his six-piece band to really cut loose and air it out, such as on a cover of Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road," he gave the impression he was holding something back. The other Earle cover of "Hillbilly Highway," with its easy going bounce, better suited his style.

The honky tonk strains of his funny "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" especially revealed Tritt's obvious comfort with traditional barroom laments, the best venue for his chosen style, rather than those big hockey rinks preferred by real rockers.

Another highlight was when Tritt pulled up a stool and took out his acoustic for a few songs. These selections included tender versions of "Help Me Hold On" and "Drift Off To Dream," which also served to show off Tritt's knack for writing sincere love songs.

While Tritt was visibly glad to be back on the road after a brief sabbatical, he found little room for songs from his brand new "Down the Road I Go" album. Except for the title cut, he only sang the ballad "Best of Intentions" and the rousing "Southbound Train." More of this material, by the way - much of which was co-written with his hero Charlie Daniels - might have added a little energy to his sometimes lagging set.

Even his encore of Hank Williams' "Move it on Over," which was aided by the same slide guitar licks as George Thorogood's hit version, came off a little soft.

Tritt's encore also included a take on "Night Moves," the soft rock hit for Bob Seger. Not sure if record executives have ever tried to market southern soft rock, but if they ever did, Tritt would easily fit the bill.