James Travis Tritt, 9 February 1963, Marietta, Georgia, USA. Tritt started writing songs and playing honky tonks and beer joints when he was about 14 years old. One of his songs is called Son Of The New South, and his US country hit Put Some Drive Into Your Country includes the lines, I made myself a promise when I was just a kid/Id mix Southern rock and country and thats just what I did. In other words, Tritt is where Merle Haggard meets Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Although the title track of his 1990 debut Country Club presented him as a honky tonk revivalist, Tritts music reflects his childhood love for the classic country of George Jones and the southern rock of the Allman Brothers Band. He reached superstar status in 1991 with the first single from Its All About To Change - a wonderful bar-room ballad of love betrayed, Heres A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares). The follow-up, Anymore, proved his credentials as a balladeer, while his acting in the award-winning video clip for the song won him several offers of film work. After two magnificent albums, 1992sT-R-O-U-B-L-E was something of a holding operation, though it contained at least one classic, the traditional-sounding Lord Have Mercy On The Working Man. Tritt further extended the boundaries of modern country with a nine-minute workout on Buddy Guys blues standard, Leave My Woman Alone. He combined with Marty Stuart for two hit singles and a series of concerts playfully titled The No-Hats Tour in honour of the duos full heads of hair.
Only some outspoken criticism of Billy Ray Cyrus in the summer of 1992, and the decision to issue a sentimental album of Christmas favourites later in the year, threatened Tritts relentless progress to the top. He continued on his path to American icon status by giving a half-time performance at the 1993 Super Bowl in Atlantas Georgiadome. The 1994 release Ten Feet Tall And Bulletproof was as much southern rock as it was country, and included guest appearances from Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jnr. The power-charged title track was helped by a fine video and Tritts incredible rise continued with the hugely successful Greatest Hits, which contained all his country hits including the number one singles Help Me Hold On, Anymore, Can I Trust You With My Heart, and Foolish Pride. He contributed a version of Jackson Brownes Take It Easy to Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles, and Lawdy Miss Clawdy to Its Now Or Never - The Tribute To Elvis. In 1996, he sang the main song, a revival of the Platters Only You (And You Alone), for the Steve Martin movie Sgt. Bilko. The same years The Restless Kind, produced by Don Was, was a pure honky-tonk country album, with no rock drum timings or hard guitar.
Following one more album for Warners, Tritt signed a new recording contract with Columbia Records, debuting for the label in 2000 with Down The Road I Go. The album included his first country chart-topper in six years, Best Of Intentions. He released two more albums for Columbia before parting company with the label at the start of 2005. He signed with the newly established Category 5 label for his next studio album, The Storm (2007).
An accomplished songwriter and performer, with one of the most distinctive voices in country music, Tritt is a major talent who is set to encompass every branch of country music.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.