Travis Book, bassist and vocalist of, GRAMMY Award-winning bluegrass ensemble The Infamous Stringdusters, is stepping into uncharted musical territory with his upcoming solo album, Love and Other Strange Emotions. Set to be released via Americana Vibes on October 27, 2023, this album marks a significant departure from his acoustic and bluegrass roots with a no-holds-barred, head-first dive into Americana and Rock music; with more in common with Pink Floyd and Jason Isbell than Flatt & Scruggs and Tony Rice. Today, the new single “Reminds Me of You” is available worldwide giving listeners their first taste of his fresh musical venture.
The melody and lyrics for “Reminds Me of You” came together in a marathon writing session while Book was in Maine that started in the woods on the coast, proceeded through the bar over a plate of steamed clams and a Molsen, continued on an evening drive to Connecticut, and finished at midnight in a hotel room. “I was missing someone and revisiting the memories we’d made on our last trip through Portland. The changing season, the angle of the light, it had me in a mood and I captured it,” he says reflecting on the process and muse.
The journey to Travis Book's solo album began unexpectedly when he invited his friends Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Mike Ashworth (Jon Stickley Trio, Steep Canyon Rangers), and Tommy Maher (Fireside Collective) for a casual collaboration during one of his weekly gigs. What started as an experiment to explore new musical boundaries quickly transformed into something extraordinary. After their third performance together, the chemistry and energy were undeniable, leading Travis to realize that this ensemble was destined for something special.
Intrigued by the unique sound this band created, Book began crafting songs specifically tailored to their style while branching out immensely from his comfort zone and traditional bluegrass music—there would be no banjos and fiddles, no upright bass… there wouldn’t even be acoustic guitars; this record was a new sound entirely, birthed from the mind and heart of a musician who, for the first time ever, was the sole voice, the sole producer, and the sole visionary, despite all of his prior accolades with The Infamous Stringdusters and collaborative projects. He delved into his extensive catalog of original compositions, re-recording some previously done with The Infamous Stringdusters and reimagining others that had yet to find their place. Even songs from his earliest work found a new home in this electrifying project.
Reflecting on the album, Book shares, "I made this record because it was time. I'd been writing, performing, and recording music for over 20 years and had yet to make a statement that was purely my own. The previous three years I’d cultivated a weekly gig and played with everyone I could, in every style I could. From some of those sessions emerged a theme and an aesthetic for a grand gesture in the form of an album. It had emerged organically when I asked myself, “If you could do whatever you wanted, what would it be? And if you could sing about whatever you wanted, what would you sing about?”
Answering his own question, he declares, “I'd play a jet-black Gibson ES 135 and front a band of the best musicians in town. I'd sing songs I'd written about love and other (strange) emotions. I'd follow my heart and my instinct with very little compromise, and I'd do it for the love, the challenge, and as an offering to myself and the universe."
In describing the album, Book expresses, "Emotions and thoughts are strange. They feel so close, so real, yet they are separate from ourselves and they materialize then fall away like clouds in a summer sky. They exist only in theory but they create and inform every bit of our experience. If, like me, you've attempted to make sense of them, then I know you'll find something in Love and Other Strange Emotions that resonates and seems familiar."
In addition to his musical endeavors, Book has been captivating audiences through his popular podcast, The Travis Book Happy Hour. The podcast focuses on musical collaboration and conversations around the complexities of being human. The Travis Book Happy Hour features the best of interviews and live music recorded in Brevard, NC, and is presented by Americana Vibes and The Bluegrass Situation with notable guests including Lindsay Lou, Nicki Bluhm, Anders Beck, John Stickley, The Lil Smokies, and more.
As Travis Book embarks on this exciting solo project, Love and Other Strange Emotions promises to be a bold, introspective, and soul-stirring exploration of the human experience giving a candid look into hashing out inner monologues and inviting listeners in on a journey to broaden musical and personal horizons.
For more information, please visit thetravisbook.com.