Travis Feutz was for real when he declared Country Music Forever on his debut EP.
Feutz is not only preserving the style of country music that he grew up loving, he’s adding his own chapters to the ever-growing story that is traditional country music. Most recently, he’s doing so with the release of “Cowboy Songs,” a 90s country-inspired tune with a lonesome-sounding vocal that gives a picture-perfect example of a “high lonesome sound”
We caught up with Feutz to chat all about “Cowboy Songs,” as well as what he learned releasing his debut EP, more new music on the way and more!
Pro Country: It’s been just under a year and a half since you released your debut EP, Country Music Forever. With that time now passed, how do you look back on that project and the base it allowed you to build as an artist?
Travis Feutz: It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the release of Country Music Forever. That project was special in so many ways. That was the first real work of substance I did in Nashville. I surrounded myself with so many talented people, made so many friends in the process; it was an experience I’ll cherish forever. I think lyrically, some of the songs off of Country Music Forever are my best work to date. The whole project opened some doors that were previously unavailable to me. We had a great release show at ACME Feed and Seed in Nashville. I would definitely consider it a major stepping stone in the right direction. One other thing it provided, and I don’t mean this as a negative, but it also gave me an insight on how I want to work on future projects. There are takeaways from the process that I would prefer to do differently in the future. I love the studio and I’m constantly learning how to improve myself and my work, and I think each time I go in, I’m doing that. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the Country Music Forever project.
PC: Why did you feel that your newest single, “Cowboy Songs,” was the right follow up to Country Music Forever and the right lead single to your second musical chapter?
TF: As a consumer of music, I’m not really into singles. I like to consume artists’ works as a whole. I don’t personally use Spotify or any other streaming platform. I still try to buy physical copies from artists. That being said, I understand we live in a world now where singles are flourishing. I knew I wanted a single that could stand on its own, outside of a project. I feel like “Cowboys Songs” and my follow up single can do just that.
PC: Can you take us in the room and talk about how “Cowboy Songs” came together?
TF: Absolutely! I know with complete certainty I wrote the chorus to “Cowboy Songs” In Nashville while working in the studio. I believe I finished the rest of the song at home at a later date. This song changed quite a bit from the idea I originally brought into the studio. Over the years, I’ve definitely gotten better about taking advice on how to improve my songs, but I was pretty set on how I wanted this song to go. John Pedigo, my producer, really challenged me in the studio. I actually came back in the next day after we tracked “Cowboy Songs,” and told him I wasn’t feeling a certain chord change we put in the song. He told me that, we could do it the way I wanted, but that’s how 95 percent of people would do it. Or try it this way and give it a more unique feel. The choice was mine. I told myself, you hired John to do a job, he’s doing his job, and I needed to learn to trust him. At the end of the project, I was totally onboard and really loved how this song turned out.
PC: You recorded “Cowboy Songs” with Joshua Ray Walker’s producer, John Pedigo, at Modern Electric in Dallas, Texas. What was the experience like of recording with a well-respected name like John in Dallas?
TF: After Country Music Forever, I set out to find producers who were doing great work, but would also possibly answer my email. I discovered Joshua Ray Walker’s first album early in the pandemic, and it was one of my favorite records of that year. I saw that John had produced it, so I reached out. We talked over the phone, and after our initial chat, I knew we had a shared vision on how to work in the studio. This time around, I wanted to try out a little more spontaneity in the studio, not have everything so planned out. I will admit that the first couple days were a learning experience compared to how I worked in Nashville. I think it took a few sessions for John and me to really get to know each other; for us to get comfortable with how we each like to work. By day three, we were going out to eat Tex-Mex together and he was showing me Dallas. It was a lot of fun. John is doing great work, and the future is bright for him. Recording at Modern Electric was a dream. You can feel the energy the moment you walk in. It has a certain mood to it. I imagine those walls can tell some pretty good stories. We almost recorded at Audio Dallas, where Willie recorded Red Headed Stranger, but the dates didn’t line up. Oh well. I guess it gives me another reason to head back to Texas.
PC: You’ve mentioned to us that you have more new music set for release in 2023. What information can you give about any forthcoming releases? What can listeners expect to hear?
TF: Yes, I have one more single that will drop in February, and I have a live album EP that is finishing up production as we speak. I’m hoping to have that out early summer.
PC: What do you have planned for 2023?
TF: I’m looking to make 2023 our busiest year yet. My touring band, Travis Feutz and The Stardust Cowboys, had a really good 2022, and we are hoping to build on that momentum. I guess since you asked, I can spill the beans. The Stardust Cowboys and I are going into the studio in February to record a full length album. We begin pre-production very soon. I couldn’t be more excited about what me and the boys are working on.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
TF: Justin, I just want to thank you for the opportunity you given me. Being a part of Pro Country is a dream come true. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me and for country music. Keep up the good fight!