It’s taken 30 years, but country music superstar Travis Tritt — known for hit songs such as “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”, “Anymore”, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” and “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” — has finally crossed a major item off off his bucket list: recording a Travis Tritt gospel album!
Country Chapel releases September 15 and features a mix of classics like “Why Me,” “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor,” “Uncloudy Day” and “Wayfaring Stranger” alongside three new faith-filled original songs. “Doing an album like this, I started reflecting back to all of my earliest influences, music that I heard when growing up over the years,” Tritt tells Woman’s World. “All of those things came flooding back.”
Tritt got his start singing in church as a child and actually performed in a contemporary Christian group in his teens before he began singing in country music venues and seeing his career take off as a country artist. Since then, Marietta, GA native has become one of country music’s most successful entertainers with a career that spans over three decades.
Well known as one of country music’s legendary “Class of 89,” which includes Clint Black, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, Tritt has won two Grammy Awards, four CMA Awards, a Billboard Music Award for Top New Artist and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Seven of Tritt’s albums have been certified platinum or higher, earning him more than 30 million in career album sales. He’s charted more than 40 times on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, scored five number one singles and 20 Top 10 hits. He’s also expanded his creative resume’ into acting with film and TV roles in Rio Diablo, The Cowboy Way, Fire Down Below, Touched By An Angel, Blues Brothers, Forever My Girl and more.
Tritt recently announced he’ll also be embarking on a solo acoustic tour in 2024 that will kick off March 1st in Nashville and continue through Charleston, SC, Columbus, Ohio, Mobile, AL and other cities.
Thrilled to catch up with the long-haired crooner, Woman’s World sat down with Travis Tritt to talk about his gospel album, his storied career and his love for his mother. Here the uplifting and delightful things he had to say.
Woman’s World: Why did you choose to record a gospel album?
Travis Tritt: This gospel album is something I’ve been wanting to make for about 30 years and when you are with secular [record] labels a lot of times they don’t want you to do anything except secular music. . .but I’ve always wanted to record a gospel album because that was the roots of how I got started was singing in church.
My mother, who is 85 years old now and still in extremely good health, has wanted me to do a gospel album forever. She’s always encouraged me to do it and it just came about this time around.
WW: What was your mom’s reaction to a Travis Tritt gospel album? I understand the first time you played it for her was on Mother’s Day.
Travis Tritt: She was just thrilled! As soon as she found out that I was going to be making a Travis Tritt gospel album, she started giving me suggestions of songs like, “I hope you are going to put this song on there. I hope you are going to put that song on there.”
One of the ones that she really wanted to make sure that I recorded was a song that I had written back in my teens “Like The Father Loves His Son.” As soon as that song came up, she broke down in tears and spent a lot of the rest of the album basically in tears because she really wanted me to make a gospel album to happen and was the catalyst behind it for me.
So to see it come about and finally get it out there after all this time, I think she is as happy about it and probably happier maybe than I am and that’s saying something because I’m thrilled.
WW: It sounds like your mom had a big impact on your faith.
Travis Tritt: As far back as I can remember, my mother made sure that I was in church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night and if there was revival going on, I was there every night of the week.
She made sure that I was in church learning God’s word every single opportunity that I had. I dedicated this album to her because had it not been for her, I probably would have never learned about Jesus, how much He loved us, the sacrifices that He made for us and the gift of salvation that God gave us because He loved us so much.
WW: You’ve mentioned that there was a time you got away from your church roots, but as a husband and father you returned to your faith. What do you say to parents who are worrying about their children who have strayed from their faith?
Travis Tritt: There’s a scripture that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” [Proverbs 22:6] I have been a shining example that is 100% true because even during the time when I was getting away from my faith, or trying to run away from it, I always had that teaching.
I always had God and my relationship with God in the back of my mind and even though I wasn’t necessarily doing the things that I was supposed to do — and I was doing a lot of things that I was told all my life that I shouldn’t be doing. The fact is is it was always there and where I really saw that teaching come around again and mean so much to me was when my wife and I started having children of our own.
Of course that was 25 years ago, but I wanted my children to have some of that same knowledge, that same teaching that I had growing up. It benefits us in so many different ways and helps you figure out who you are as a person, what your standards are, what your morals are and I just think it’s positive for everybody, so I wanted to make sure that my children had that experience.
WW: There’s a beautiful song on the album you wrote with Aaron Raitiere titled “Mama Used to Pray for Me.” Talk about the inspiration for that.
Travis Tritt: That was based off of my own personal experience. Not just my mom but a lot of people — aunts, uncles, my grandparents — they constantly let me know, “Hey, we’re praying for you. We are praying for your safety. We’re praying for your success. We’re praying for all of the desires of your heart to be fulfilled and we’re going to make sure that God knows that we want you to be taken care of.”
I wanted to be able to pass that along to my children as well so it really does come full circle. Like a lot of people, I put myself in extremely questionable circumstances on more than one occasion as a young person and I always felt like that the only reason that I made it through some of those situations was because people like my mother and my grandparents were praying for me. I’ve had times where I was in a pretty close to life-and-death situations.
Afterwards, I would talk to either my mother or my grandfather, who was a pastor, and he would say, “Well you know last night when you were in that situation, the Lord woke me up and just put it on my heart to pray for you because you might be in trouble.” My grandfather always did, and my mother always did.
WW: I love that you dedicate the album to your mom, Gwen.
Travis Tritt: I’ve always thought of my mother as almost like a saint, but throughout this entire process and she’s the one that inspired it. She’s the one that took me to church in the first place. She’s the one that saw to it that I was taught about Jesus and his love for us, but this has given me a whole new renewed respect for mamas.
Mamas are special and the love that they give and the love that I got from my mother was just something extremely special. She has always been a strong woman, a strong influence and a just a shining light in my life and I don’t think that’s ever been more apparent to me than now. Thank God for mamas!
WW: Does it feel different when you are singing gospel songs than it does your country hits?
Travis Tritt: Absolutely it does, especially the songs that I wrote for this particular album, but even the ones that I didn’t. These are some of the songs that when I was a kid that had the biggest impact on me. These songs were songs that moved me more so than others and that’s saying something because I listened to a lot of music growing up in my life.
I can sing a song like “Here’s A Quarter” and I know exactly where I was and what head space I was in when I wrote that. So, it’s very easy for me to stay connected to the song as I’m performing it live and when you are talking about songs that are so personal to you, like some of these songs on this gospel album, I never lose that connection.
Hopefully by feeling those feelings while you are singing those particular lyrics, you hope to get those lyrics across and hope that they are making other people feel the same way that they made you feel when you started writing them or singing them. You can feel when people are tuned in and are locked in on you and are understanding everything that you are trying to say and all of the feelings that you are trying to convey to them. Music is really an amazing, amazing thing.
WW: With all the turmoil happening in the world, do you feel like this is the right time for a Travis Tritt gospel album?
Travis Tritt: It happened in God’s time. A lot of times, we think it’s so important that certain things get done at this particular time, but God has a different plan and it’s His timing that really counts.
There’s almost like a spiritual awakening that is taking place in this country and around the world. Revivals that have broken out in college campuses all across the country and it just swept through like a wave. Movies like Jesus Revolution and some of the others that have come out recently have been so impactful and have been so well received by people in a much bigger way that any of us have ever seen before and there are television shows like The Chosen and some of the other things. (Click through to meet the cast of the hit Christian series ‘The Chosen’.)
It’s God’s timing because it’s all happening at around the same time. I had nothing to do with the timing of this album, but I am so glad and so grateful that it’s coming out at this particular moment because I think people do need to hear it now more than ever.
We have so many distractions and so many things that are happening around us that really point to the divisions that we have as people in this country, but I think that this movement that we’re seeing right now in the spiritual realm is something that we all can get onboard with and it unites us more than divides us.
WW: What do you wish that you’d known when you started out that you know now?
Travis Tritt: I wished that I had known how important it is to listen to your audience above listening to people in the music industry. It took me awhile to figure that out. When I got signed to a record label, the record label was telling me, “We love what you do. We love the direction you’ve come from,” and then as soon as I got signed to the label, they tried to change me.
I never felt comfortable with that and I resisted from the very beginning. I was a little bit lost and concerned because you’ve got all these people telling you, “We know how to do this. We know how to make your career successful. Trust us.” I just didn’t feel comfortable with that. I had played so many bars and clubs for so many years prior to getting signed to a record label that I had a pretty good idea of who my audience was and what they would and would not accept from me.
Still it was really difficult for me to trust my gut and my instincts until I met Waylon Jennings. He told me, “The people that should really count are the people that go out and work hard, 40, 50, 60 hours a week to put food on the table for their families and to put a roof over their heads. Those people are willing to spend a little bit of that money to go out and buy your music and occasionally even splurge for a concert ticket when you come close to their town. Those are the people that matter.
WW: You’ve accomplished so much and could easily be resting on your laurels, what keeps you writing, recording and touring?
Travis Tritt: I remember what made me fall in love with music in the first place when I was just a little kid, walking around singing Roger Miller songs when I was five-years-old, singing gospel music in church and going to bluegrass festivals with my uncle.
I honestly believe I was put on this earth to create music and to move myself. Hopefully if I can move myself, I can move other people as well and for me, that’s exciting. I’m just so thrilled and honored to have a career that has lasted this long and still be able to put new music out that moves people and still do what I’ve always loved to do.
Pick up the Travis Tritt gospel album Country Chapel online here!
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