Tom’s start as winner of a Skiffle competition, turning to Bluegrass in 1962 with “The Double T Ramblers”, then as a member of seminal Bluegrass duo “Tom & Smiley” set him up, through his administrative work with the British Bluegrass Music Association, his BBC radio series and his organisation of the annual Edale Bluegrass Festival, to be dubbed “Mr. Bluegrass U.K.”. An indefatigable champion of the music, he has organised countless concerts, club nights and sessions (or “picks”), fronted several bands and guested on stage with many stars of both Bluegrass and Country Music at all sorts of award ceremonies, festivals and concerts on both sides of the Atlantic. We carry most of his recorded output and have re-issued some lost gems; in fact we’re glad that we can now offer two new sets of Tom’s latest songs.
“Tom & Smiley – The Complete Saga Recordings” REDR 1012 TS
Tom & Smiley – Tom Travis and Tom “Smiley” Bowker – pioneered and popularised Bluegrass music in the U.K. and in Northern Europe in the 1960s, so attracting the attention of recording company Saga, a company not usually known for acoustic music. The result was two widely distributed and very popular LPs, released in 1968 and 1969 as the British Folk boom awakened, remaining in the catalogues for some years. More recently it proved impossible to trace the ownership or whereabouts of the original master recordings and so, with so many requests for reissue, we at Acoustic Redeye reconstructed the tracks from a heap of much-loved, much-played LPs lent by long-time fans and packaged them in the original order on a single CD, using examples of the sleeve artwork that graced “The Bluegrass Sound of Tom & Smiley” and “Tom & Smiley Country Style”.
“& a Pick from the Bunch” ARR OCRD 9001
Recorded in 1984, this is a fine example of Tom’s straight-down-the-line traditional Bluegrass band work. Here he heads a “Bunch” of consummate musicians including award-winning flat-picker Chris Moreton, mandolinist and high-tenor Chris Wing – a Bluegrass guru if ever there was, and Brian Booth who has played bass in Tom’s bands on and off from 1962 through to the present day. The set list is traditional e.g. “Whitehouse Blues”, “The Rebel Soldier”, “More Pretty Girls Than One”, with a nod towards early Nashville (“I’ll Break Out Again Tonight”) and a sly folky glance (“Darcy Farrow”). A Travis Time Capsule!
“Rootin’ For Roots” ARR REDB 1008RR
Intended as a follow-up to “& a Pick from the Bunch” this album dates from 1990, but was only available as a cassette, reclaimed and remastered by Acoustic Redeye Records (the original masters are not available) to satisfy requests from Tom’s fans. Traditional Bluegrass is to the fore with the Stanley Brother’s “Think of What You’ve Done”, “The Fields Have Turned Brown” and “Baby Girl”, Bill Monroe’s “Highway of Sorrow” and “I’m on my Way Back”, but Country sneaks in with a superb “Cry, Cry Darling” and there’s even a John Prine song in there “The Torch Singer”. The band is excellent and Tom’s soaring vocals are a delight.
“Live at Kenilworth” The Tom Travis Bluegrass Incident ARR REDR 1018 LK
Recorded live at the BBMA 2002 AGM Concert, this set features the recorded (and performance!) debut of several of Tom’s own songs which have become favourites in his live set to this day. The familiar sprinkling of traditional Bluegrass standards and the odd Country conversion – the excellent “I’ll be your Stepping Stone” – finish the job nicely and the atmosphere crackles with that electricity you don’t get in the studio! Highlights are Tom’s biographical “Cattle Feed Blues”, his “I’ll See You Sometime” and “I’ll Break Out Again Tonight” with a solid band of his regular stalwarts. Great fun!
“A Small Patch of Blue” The Tom Travis Bluegrass Incident ARR REDR 1019 SP
This is Tom’s international success. Recorded by Dave Howard in Ireland and Mastered by John Baldwin in Nashville, it has received critical acclaim and airplay from the Country and Bluegrass communities of the U.S.A., Europe and Ireland as well as the U.K., Tom’s home turf. All songs are Tom’s own and the fascinating booklet notes give you the background to each and the odd tip about Tom’s approach to song construction. Acapella gospel, rip-roaring Bluegrass, 50s-style Country love songs, tongue-in-cheek social commentary, cross-over instrumentals, they’re all here in abundance and much more. The band’s good too!
“A Room For Jesus” Tom Travis & Friends ARR REDR 1023 TT
Constant requests from his fans to feature more gospel in his recorded output led to Tom putting together this compilation. He used tracks that had featured on other albums and some unpublished material that had never seen the light of day previously and, boy did it hit the mark! Excellent revues from both sides of the Atlantic and worldwide sales and downloads, this is a very successful album.
“The Essence Of The Man” Tom Travis ARR REDR 1026 EM
“Tom Travis ~ Plain And Simple” Tom Travis ARR REDR 1026PS
Over the years, Tom has built a large store of original material which has seriously needed a public airing; these two delightful albums have partially solved this problem, consisting entirely of what Tom calls ” his singer-songwriter stuff”. All these songs have remained unreleased until now, although quite a few have featured in Tom’s live performances and some still do. Both CDs have been greeted warmly and have received excellent reviews.
“Bluegrass Ancient & Modern ~ Live! Tom Travis ARR REDR 1033AM
This is Tom’s first live album since “Kenilworth” and what a cracker it is! He appears with a band of hot young talents who tear into a varied roster of traditional Bluegrass and early Country favourites with incredible gusto and precision that it’s hard to believe that the band hasn’t been touring for decades. The tracks are culled from live shows in three different venues around North West England and the whole thing just sizzles! Highly recommended! (I will add a sample track from this album in the near future – Please see the “NEWS” page for more info).
All Tom’s albums are available for purchase and download from many well-known retail outlets, but we are now also able to supply copies direct (contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org). If you wish to audition some of Tom’s tracks in lo-fi form, you can do so below.
“A Room For Jesus” from Tom’s album of the same name.
“The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn” from “A Room For Jesus”
You may be interested to know that Tom has a new book out “Asylum” which you can purchase in paperback or Kindle form from Amazon and similar retailers.