An orphan who turned into a preacher
A preacher who turned into a songwriter
A songwriter that turned into a drunk
A drunk that is learning to be a human being
Much of the attention for Travis Meadows began in 2010, when Meadows self-released Killin’ Uncle Buzzy, a raw masterpiece that left listeners stunned. “I was in rehab, and one of my counselors suggested that I keep a journal, so I basically made a record out of that journal,” Meadows says. It became an unlikely phenomenon, handed from friend to friend and artist to artist with whispers of, ‘Listen. It’s the best thing you’ll hear all year.’
Killin’ Uncle Buzzy sees Nashville-based, Mississippi-born singer/songwriter Meadows’ heart-wrenchingly authentic lyricism slip hand-in-hand with his delicately beautiful yet haunting country melodies. Each performance on the album cannot only be heard but felt in heart and soul across every earthy timbre: warm, organic strums of guitar and the stirring spirit of Meadows’ sage vocals play sanctuary to the ghosts of his personal tragedy and the haunts of his time in rehab and prison. In 35 minutes, Meadows creates more of an imprint on the listener with Killin’ Uncle Buzzy than many artists could do with their life’s work.
Meadows’ prolific, searingly honest lyrics appear in performances by some of country’s biggest stars. Disciples have been dancing by Meadows’ fire for years: Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Mary Gauthier, Brandy Clark, Blackberry Smoke, Hank Williams, Jr., Wynonna Judd, Randy Houser, and others began writing with, recording, and praising Meadows as soon as they heard his work. Songs such as “Riser,” the title track for Bentley’s 2015 album; Church’s “Knives of New Orleans” and “Dark Side”; and Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got” are all Meadows-penned chart-climbers.
Travis Meadows spent years trying to escape himself. He’s anything but selfish, so he’d find a way to get away––a bottle, a bag, a sermon––and he’d share it with everyone. That was then. Now, Meadows isn’t trying to get anybody lost or high. Instead, he’s trying to get every single one of us to settle in deeply to ourselves––and love what’s there.
“I feel like what I’m doing is giving people permission to be okay with who they are, where they’re at now,” Meadows says. “A lot of us say stuff like, ‘If I’d been married to this guy or this girl, or if I had enough money, or if I had a better job. If I wasn’t an alcoholic, or if I drank more. If this, if that, then, I think I could be a better person.’” He pauses. “I think the key to life is being okay with who you are.”
Meadows isn’t just waxing poetic about the perks of self-acceptance. He has clawed his way to the peace he’s found, and his willingness to map that journey through his songs has saved more lives than his own. “I’ve always put secrets in my records, but I had this ring of fire that nobody could get in––a defense mechanism from my childhood. Nobody gets too close,” he says.