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Travis Tritt

The Restless Kind – 1996 (Warner)

Reviewed by Don Yates

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CDs by Travis Tritt

Travis Tritt goes deep into the heart of country music, delivering one of the finest albums to come out of Nashville this year. This is not only Tritt's most traditional-sounding album, it's also his best. Dumping long-time producer Gregg Brown for Don Was, Tritt's replaced the occasionally heavy-handed rock crunch and power ballads of past albums fora more organic country sound.

Beginning with the Mike Henderson-penned title song, Mark O'Connor's fiddle is prominently featured, while other ace pickers contribute pedal steel, dobro, mandolin and other traditional instrumentation. The album's lyrical themes are also strongly traditional, stretching from the humorous Travis & Marty cheating song, "Double Trouble," to deeper material such as songs of lost love like "Still In Love With You" and "Helping Me Get Over You" (a fine duet with Lari White), and reaching a peak with straight shots of honky-tonk misery like the doubt-ridden "Did You Fall Far Enough" and the heartbroken "Sack Full Of Stones."

Tritt still finds room to show his love of southern rock ("Back Up Against The Wall") and the blues ("She's Going Home With Me," featuring some nice Scotty Moore-style guitar from Stuart), but this time he does it without indulging in musical excess.

The album closes with "Where Corn Don't Grow," a minor hit for Waylon Jennings in 1990. A hard-luck tale about working-class dreams denied, it provides a fitting ending for Tritt's most mature work to date.