“Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the Dude, in Los Angeles.”
Except, you know, this time it’s music...
It’s really impossible to know where the creative spark for any one thing might originate. For Travis Talbert, though, staying at home during this year’s pandemic, the time with his family has him finding new ways to tap into that creativity.
Under the moniker Mavis Guitar, Talbert, who is also one quarter of Cincinnati Rock mainstays Frontier Folk Nebraska - neither living on the frontier, playing folk music, or having anything to do with Nebraska, as the joke goes - finds himself creating and releasing music in about as lo-fi a way as one can imagine. With the help of his daughters and the inspiration of quarantine videos posted by Nashville session guitarist Tom Bukovaca, Talbert has crafted two tracks, or, maybe more appropriate, musical vignettes, that speak to a sort of melancholy acceptance. Of what, I’m not quite sure.
And, please note: I write this in the midst of a global health crisis and nationwide uprisings - so I apologize if perhaps that changes the hue with which these songs are cast. But, had I listened to these tracks a couple of weeks ago, I do believe they would play quite differently.
Neither track on Mavis Guitar’s 2 song EP, Crying for Joy - “Blue Camel” or “The Top Half of Your Face” - play as a song in the traditional sense. Each has it’s own feel, but the duology of the tracks is obvious. The verse/chorus/verse one might be accustomed to is nowhere to be found, but neither track feels incomplete or less than whole for it. The vignette quality, the sense that each song is telling a story - be it a freeform, meandering, sincere kind of story - is evident from note one, and each plays as it’s own unique vision of what pure music can sound like.
It takes a lot to simply let your instrument do the talking, but Talbert manages to say quite a bit without uttering a single word. I’m happy to listen, even happier to share. I may not be crying for joy these days, but to say that these tracks didn’t bring that joy would be a lie. I’m sure the crying will come later, as it does.
Oh, and Travis asked us to make sure to let you all know the following, by the way:
“The price is $2 but folks can pay more if they like, and I'll be kicking donations from this week's sales to Southern Poverty Law Center to help them continue to fight hate groups and to protect the civil rights of folks in need.”
Of course, dude. We’ll tell everyone.
If you’re not familiar with Mavis Guitar’s previous endeavours, well, you’re missing out. Now’s as good a time as any to take a listen. Even better, you can do some good in the process.
Mavis Guitar’s Crying For Joy EP is out now - give it a listen, drop a few bucks, thank me later.