Album Review – Travis Tritt’s “Set In Stone”
“Set in stone” is a good way to describe the career arc of Travis Tritt, or the lack of one. He started out as a member of the Class of ’89 by putting some drive into country, and never really stopped. This attitude and approach drove him to the top of the mainstream super fast, but as the music evolved away from his sound and style, he kept soldiering forward, mullet and all. Soon the albums stopped selling as well, the singles stopped getting played, and one of the most successful artists of the 90s was put out the pasture.
At that point, why even fuss with albums and singles? You still have a loyal fan base since you never sold out or compromised your sound, even if it’s smaller than when you were at your peak. So just focus on playing live shows. After all, that’s where the money in music is these days. And Travis Tritt is good enough to entertain an audience with just an acoustic guitar. Then all of a sudden, some 14 years have gone by without a studio release.
But one grace for the music artist who refuses to change is the retrospective music often enjoys some 25 to 30 years later. With artists as far ranging as Dierks Bentley to American Aquarium releasing 90s inspired country albums, what better time for Travis Tritt to reemerge? He even appeared on Dierks’ Hot Country Knights album himself.
Choosing to work with Dave Cobb here was not just a default decision. Those who know Dave know he will tackle a project from most any sector of music, but his sweet spot is the soulful side of country and Southern rock, indicative of guys like Chris Stapleton. This makes Dave Cobb an ideal conspirator for Travis Tritt, and starting with the first song on this new album called “Stand Your Ground,” the auspicious chemistry is clearly present.
Inspired by a true life conversation Travis Tritt once had with Waylon Jennings about refusing to listening to the suits—which Waylon also spoke about in his autobiography—“Stand Your Ground” sets this album off like a fire, and gets your attitude right about what’s in store, which is some hard-driving Southern country rock, often punctuated by self-affirming lyricism, for better and sometimes worse.
If you’re one of these dudes who refuses to come down off the mountain for anything, this record will have you pumping your fist. It’s exactly what you want and expect from Travis Tritt. But let’s be honest, some things that used to be are probably better as bygone. One of the early songs from the album “Smoke in a Bar” tries to set the right tone about some of the things we’ve lost in modern life, but are smoking in public places and seat belt wearing really the best subjects to be railing against in 2021? I for one am ecstatic I can go listen to a local singer songwriter, and not come home with my favorite pearl snap smelling like emphysema. Then again I’m not a smoker.
It’s the prickly, opinionated attitude of Travis Tritt that has made him a folk hero to many, and a villain to many others. Similar to Jason Isbell, Tritt’s social media persona is the filter many people’s opinions on his music get run through, understandably so due to his outspoken nature, but also unfairly for a truly objective regard to the music. The Hank jr.-inspired “Ghost Town Nation,” and the affirming “Southern Man” will have some decrying this whole effort if they ever even gave it a chance in the first place, or perhaps they’ll even levy accusations of coded language against it.
But if you put all the extracurricular stuff aside, Set In Stone feels like a really solid and inspired mid career selection from Tritt, well-produced by Cobb, with some great instrumental performances, and no signs of rust or heavy wear from the time away. Songs like “Leave This World” and “Better Off Dead” show a more sentimental and understated side of Travis we don’t always see. And despite one of the central themes of the record being Tritt’s uncompromising and unapologetic inclinations, the song “Ain’t Who I Was” written by Brent Cobb and Adam Hood speaks to the ability to evolve, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart.
Working with Brent Cobb and Adam Hood on multiple tracks, as well as Channing Wilson, Dillon Carmichael and others injects Set In Stone with a fresh and relevant perspective, along with bestowing an opportunity to these deserving songwriters. The early tracks had you worried this album may be monochromatic in theme and message, but it shows surprising depth by the end.
Undoubtedly though, this is a Boomer record, and in more ways than one. Even the cover feels a bit drab and outdated. But that is Travis Tritt’s clientele, both from those that first heard him in the 90’s, to those just now discovering that era in country for the first time. Yes, Travis Tritt’s legacy is already “set in stone” as he says in the title track. But this new album chisels in a few more details.
1 1/2 Guns Up (7.5/10)
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Purchase from Travis Tritt
Purchase from Amazon
May 8, 2021 @ 11:24 am
Is Cobb capable of producing a record that sounds like it wasn’t recorded in an echo chamber?
2 six shooters down.
Tritt with Hot Country Knights = much better sound.
May 8, 2021 @ 11:50 am
Love it so far…will be buying this album ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
May 8, 2021 @ 11:54 am
No thanks. I don’t need to listen to a hate spewing, racist Trumper. Pass.
Strait Country 81
May 8, 2021 @ 1:17 pm
But you voted for a guy that has spoke at a KKK members funeral, Don’t want his kids growing up in a racial jungle but hypocrisy is what your type does best.
May 8, 2021 @ 1:41 pm
Your guy is president and you’re still thinking about Trump? You have more issues than your political beliefs
May 8, 2021 @ 1:48 pm
I know he was a Trump supporter, but where are you getting racist from?
He’s publicly acknowledged many black artists as influences(including a black gospel choir he met when he was young), plus he has sang with many as well.
Opinionated and mouthy like a blue collar man, sure… but people can’t see to take conflicting opinions well anymore.
May 8, 2021 @ 1:51 pm
Elias, I’m a left winger, but I’ll give some slack to old school dudes like Coe, Tritt, and Bocephus, who aren’t progressive today, but established their country sound / bonafides when I was listening to them a couple of decades ago when I was growing up.
I have no funks to give to kid rock or the nuge, however, as they’ve always been repugnant.
May 8, 2021 @ 2:05 pm
I love when the leftist nut sacks project. If a leftist tard calls you racist, hateful, etc., you know that’s exactly what’s in their heart. I’m sure you virtue signalling dildos can find more to be offended by than Travis Tritt. Isn’t there a statue somewhere to tear down, an old lady to harass or a building to burn?
May 8, 2021 @ 3:11 pm
It’s worth noting that Travis is married to a woman of color and his kids are all mixed race. Your comment is reckless and disgusting.
March 29, 2022 @ 7:16 pm
tritt’s wife is not of color…geesh
May 8, 2021 @ 6:32 pm
Understand that the biggest takeaway from exit interviews I do with former readers is they are tired of seeing back and forths exactly like this in the comments sections. You have accomplished nothing but train-wrecking this discussion, and scaring away readers.
This is a music website. Let’s talk about the music.
May 8, 2021 @ 8:53 pm
Good luck with that mental disorder. We rootin fer ya.
May 9, 2021 @ 8:04 am
Elias , why not grow up and face facts instead of accusing everyone else of what you are guilty of? lets prove that so called insurrection of the capitol on the sixth was a complete fraud perpetrated by the left, and miss me with the ‘deepfake’ narrative , those videos are easily detected through digital analysis, this is 100% genuine. and no buildings were looted burned or destroyed https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/everything-wrong-with-the-capitol-shooting-in-21-minutes-or-less/
May 9, 2021 @ 8:31 am
This is going way out-of-bounds. Either start leaving comments about Travis Tritt and his music, or stuffs gonna start getting deleted.
This comments section has reverted back to November all of a sudden.
May 9, 2021 @ 12:02 pm
You’re right of course.
But in this instance it’s not hard are to pinpoint the precise moment the conversation got derailed: it was when someone tossed out a gratuitous, unfair comment about the singer, rather than his music.
Why pretend everyone’s equally responsible?
May 14, 2021 @ 12:19 am
Trigger have you actually listened to Travis’ music and lyrics? and how is exposing a lie that Yahoo and numerous other MSM still perpetuate even in this weeks news in any way ‘reverting” back to last November when the lie is still being repeated ?
are you so indoctrinated with TDS that you don’t care about facts? are you still swallowing the other MSM lies such as office Brian Sicnick being killed with a Fire Extinguisher (which though they knew was a flat out lie) everyone from CNN MSNBC CBS and the Associated Press falsely reported over and again for three months ? google his cause of death now and see what you find.
and if you think my comments is out of bounds you may want to start following Travis Tritts social media and get to know the mans musics and lyrics, i don’t care which party you belong to but to be okay with being lied to by every MSM ‘news’ outllet and social media platform who censor , sshadowban and lie to hide facts is NOT okay and its not adult, moral or acceptable
May 14, 2021 @ 9:43 am
I probably did listen to the music and lyrics of Travis Tritt if I ultimately posted a 10-paragraph review of his work that you’re leaving a comment on. I appreciate your passion for these political subjects, but it’s not the right place to air them. The fact that you’re coming at me with all of your mainstream media hatred when I’ve been about the only journalist in country to stand up to the mainstream media manipulation that has been happening in country feels a bit strange. I know all about social media censorship, shadowbanning, and cancellation, since it’s happened to be directly numerous times. I agree the mainstream media has been manipulating the mindset of Americans, and on both sides. But I run a country music website. This is an album review. People come here to get away from all that stuff. I’m not asking you to abandon your political fight if that’s what you’re passionate about. I’m just asking for you and others to not bring it here, unless it’s directly relevant to the conversation, which sometimes it is. But not here.
May 9, 2021 @ 11:50 pm
Forbiddenknowledgetv.net is “proof” — you sound really smart.
Perfect boomer comment for a boomer album. [thumbs up]
May 14, 2021 @ 12:00 am
Forbiddenknowlde is merely one of many websites the video is shared on, try actually watching it instead of resorting to emotional temper tantrums and name calling if you’d prefer you can watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2WOBIv6SY4 makes no difference its the same irrefutable evidence no matter who hosts the video
North Woods Country
May 9, 2021 @ 8:26 am
People like you should be faced with lawsuits for libel/slander, because the label “racist” shouldn’t be able to be so easily thrown around. 99.9999% of the time, it’s not true, and you should face consequences for making false claims. In no way, shape, or form is Travis Tritt either racist or hateful. Kick rocks, and attempt to breath through your nose, would you?
May 14, 2021 @ 4:17 am
I hated trump and I don’t think too highly of those who think too highly of him, but I don’t believe Tritt is a racist. For the sake of music, I can get past political views because everyone has them and everyone is wrong
June 25, 2021 @ 8:51 pm
people like you are reason why the Country f***** up
May 8, 2021 @ 12:05 pm
Disclaimer: I like Travis Tritt! I appreciate his attitude and soulful sound.
That said, my new Dell Inspiron 3000 lap top speakers (stuck under the bottom) suck! What fucking idiot thought that was a good idea? That is the epitome of; educated beyond your intellect- as in MOST allegedly higher educated idiots-
Had I known that prior to purchasing (bought on line from Dell) I would NOT have bought it.
Bill from WI
May 8, 2021 @ 12:50 pm
Same ones that designed my Acer. I use a JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker, compact and way better than any laptop speaker. Works great from the phone also.
May 24, 2021 @ 11:10 pm
May 25, 2021 @ 11:59 am
I don’t normally wager- in your case I’m goin to- I wager you, being the sharpest knife in the drawer, cut right to the chase and recognize the irony you posted- would I win the wager, or not?
May 8, 2021 @ 2:01 pm
A 90s artist with new and original material! Now we are talkin! Waylon once said he was the best in the game, thats good enough for me. I love Smoke in a Bar, i get what he is trying to say about a lot of our smallest liberties being stripped of us over time. Hopefully i got some more God-fearin conservatives on this post, the American Aquarium stans roughed me up a little with my last post. Lol. Travis sounds great, glad to have him back.
May 8, 2021 @ 2:12 pm
I don’t really care about any artists politics right or left. I love Steve Earle and I love Travis Tritt. It is about the music nothing else. I like what I have heard of this record smoke in a bar is a damn fine country song. Tritt live especially solo acoustic is a damn fine country show.
May 8, 2021 @ 2:22 pm
“He started out as a member of the Class of ’89 by putting some drive into country, and never really stopped.” – from article.
Not to be that ass but.. he did stop for 14 years 😄😄
Solid album. 6/10
May 8, 2021 @ 2:30 pm
Those two songs don’t really sound that great to me. I loved a lot of his stuff back in the day though. Still nice to see him still at it.
May 8, 2021 @ 2:36 pm
The CMT Music Channel has been playing the “Smoke in a Bar” music video non-stop for weeks!! I’m shocked. Glad it’s getting great exposure.
May 8, 2021 @ 5:10 pm
Just walked through a smoke-free (former) cigar lounge at the A & B Lobster House on the harbor in Key West
Can’t say I miss being around smoking , but I’m sure Travis’ song won’t bother me
May 8, 2021 @ 6:05 pm
: D Hey, no fair
May 8, 2021 @ 6:37 pm
Smoke in a Bar: the song, isn’t really about “smoking in a bar”
It’s a metaphor.
Go listen to the song. It’s pretty good!
May 8, 2021 @ 6:59 pm
Right…..he and I are close to the same age…its about when times were simpler.
May 8, 2021 @ 2:55 pm
May 8, 2021 @ 2:55 pm
Hmmm, personally I like the freedom to breathe clean air in a bar.
Will comment on the music when i have an opinion on it.
May 8, 2021 @ 5:31 pm
May 8, 2021 @ 3:12 pm
It’s worth noting that Travis is married to a woman of color and his kids are all mixed race. Your comment is reckless and disgusting.
May 10, 2021 @ 9:57 am
Lol they even know Michael Jackson history lol
March 29, 2022 @ 7:19 pm
she is not a woman of color…geesh you people
May 8, 2021 @ 3:26 pm
Seems it requires approval from the FCC, the FDA, NASA, the FDIC, EEOC, the EPA, the ICC, the EU and the IOC before Travis Tritt–or Clint Black–can put out a new album.
Glad that all the approvals came through. I hope this one was worth the wait.
May 8, 2021 @ 3:57 pm
Gave a listen to the whole album today. It’s good. Not quite Stapleton or Blackberry Smoke good, but enjoyable in a similar vein.
May 8, 2021 @ 5:26 pm
Love ya Trig, but you gotta do something with these 7.5s. This can’t have the same score as the American Aquarium karaoke CD. (I do think this one is a proper 7.5 though.)
To my ears, Cobb mostly cut a Stapleton album with Travis Tritt songs. Arrangements felt very familiar, especially early in the track list.
I had heard Tritt on Theo Von’s podcast telling the Waylon story, so I was kind of floored to hear it come out word for word in song, but it’s pretty badass.
Set in Stone (the song) is going to be in rotation for me for a long time. Tremendous song.
Other than that, “Stand Your Ground”, “They Don’t Make Em Like That No More”, and “Better Off Dead” were standout tracks for me.
May 8, 2021 @ 11:11 pm
I know right? Everything is 7.5 lol.
Trigger, I’m not saying this is a bad album but not everything is a 7.5. Even good artists put out bad albums from time to time. Don’t just give bad reviews to pop country clowns, give it to all those that deserve it. Get meaner! (And more honest)
May 9, 2021 @ 6:00 am
Folks, I remember going through this same exact controversy at some point last year, with everyone complaining all my reviews were 8/10. It was just a symptom of a bunch of reviews in a row that probably deserved to be graded 8/10. Chalk it up to coincidence. And not everything has been 7.5/10 lately. Charlie Marie got 9/10. The Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ review got 10/10. Ashley Monroe didn’t get a specific grade, but it most certainly would have not been 7.5/10.
I feel that grade is fair to both the American Aquarium album—which folks are losing their minds over, but needs to be graded considering there’s no original material on it—and this album, which has some really great songs, but a few derivatives ones as well.
May 9, 2021 @ 8:45 pm
I’m totally just giving you shit. I don’t pay that close attention to it. It was just the last two I read and listened to – along with the Charlie Marie release. I’m at the point, I follow along with any lead I get from the site because it’s usually always quality stuff that you cover.
I definitely wouldn’t want the job of trying to grade all of these on a numerical scale and still have to maintain relationships for proper coverage. Not an easy task. Appreciate all you do, man!
May 8, 2021 @ 6:27 pm
Tritt is Terrific.
May 8, 2021 @ 8:19 pm
Its what i expected in a good way. Very solid album.
Rickie Jon Connors
May 8, 2021 @ 11:52 pm
Nothing against the Trav’, but all this review does is make me want to listen to the American Aquarium album even more.
May 9, 2021 @ 3:56 am
“Me and Mine (Lamentations)” is one of the best songs….EVER….. listen to it, don’t just hear it- SMH- good lord, the music is good as are the lyrics- meaningful, soulful, thoughtful, current content, sincerely sang- and NO, I am NOT a clown looking to be led by a fool, of the left/right paradigm, now referred to as the Duopoly Party- I think for myself, I refuse to bow to an empty suit-
I also think that “educated beyond intellect” is apropos for many- like the idiot(s) who decided putting bad speakers on the bottom of a lap top is intelligent- GOOD LORD!
That stupid move means I can’t hear any video very well- no matter what political entity one is from-
May 9, 2021 @ 4:22 am
this sounds like a solid album from travis tritt. although there are too many ballads for my taste and not enough stand out songs. still a really good album. alot better than the bro country crap they got out there.
May 9, 2021 @ 5:15 am
Never been a smoker, and never liked my clothes smelling like smoke. But I know what he means by missing the days when you could smoke in a bar. I don’t get the impression he literally wants to smoke in a bar. I just think he understands that progressivism doesn’t always lead to progress. This is a damn good record. I’m glad to see him still hanging in there
May 9, 2021 @ 5:51 am
There seems to be a lot of folks honing in on that part of the review. Similar to how Tritt is using “smoking in a bar” as an illustration on a wider theme, I’m trying to use his illustration on a wider theme as well that in certain instances Tritt comes across as behind the times, and not always in a good way. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the album and thought it was a quality, later-career contribution.
May 9, 2021 @ 8:58 am
I’d make the argument that the only thing behind the times about Travis, is the fact that he’s just now getting around to saying what many people have been saying for over a decade.
May 9, 2021 @ 8:17 pm
While I agree with what you’re saying, doesn’t the sentiment seem so much larger and more emotional now that we’ve all endured a much much much more traumatizing and difficult “change of the world”? That’s why I felt it was a very smart line. But maybe I just dig deeper and don’t assume that the lowest fruit on the tree is always the ones they’re singing about.
October 10, 2021 @ 7:21 am
At least Travis found his “Open Line”. Haunting song. Can’t get it out of my mind !
May 9, 2021 @ 12:06 pm
May 9, 2021 @ 6:16 am
It’ll be nice when Tritt stops singing anthems about himself. Ed King and Jimmy Page are all over the guitar in “Stand Your Ground,” just saying.
That’s all I got.
May 9, 2021 @ 7:20 am
When Travis releases what is essentially an ode to right winged hood old boy political views, the comments are gonna be filed with hot takes.
May 9, 2021 @ 10:47 am
Before I got to the music my mind went, “Those horrid font choices…” LOL!
But I am glad to hear he’s some conviction here in terms of sound and style. It terms of dying on the hill for what seems like odd quibbles (seat belts etc). No matter the aisle I always respect more those with convictions then those who flip-flop with the slightest breeze.
May 9, 2021 @ 11:17 am
Really a 7.5/10, barely better than Canaan Smith. Don’t get me wrong, the Canaan Smith record was fun to listen to but nowhere near a decent output as Travis Tritt
May 9, 2021 @ 11:57 pm
“So just focus on playing live shows.” Hey, think of us poor Europeans 😉
May 10, 2021 @ 3:46 am
Love me some rockin’country Tritt and will buy this record but i also felt the same as Trig watching the “smoke in a bar” video and i’m a boomer…i guess..
May 10, 2021 @ 9:57 am
Nice to see Travis back with a new album. I’m really enjoying it. Not a fan of his politics, but he’s a great singer – what can i say?
May 10, 2021 @ 10:38 am
It feels pretty meh to me and Tritt’s voice weak in places and his “whooo” on Ghost Town Nation sounded downright hoarse. The songs are fine, nothing that I will have stuck in my head later in the day after listening to it.
I’ll always love his guest spot on Dr. Quinn though.
May 24, 2021 @ 6:31 pm
Why is it that now a days politics always seems to gets in the way of music? What happened to the days when putting on a CD, album or radio and just enjoy the damn fucking music.
January 27, 2022 @ 2:47 pm
See this album was just released acoustically, I like it even better than the original, the songwriting of showcased even more I think when it’s stripped a little bit.
May 10, 2022 @ 7:07 pm
I’ve been to eleven of Travis Tritt concerts and I have bought ALL of his albums. I have not been disappointed with either. If you get a chance to hear his daughter sing I’m pretty sure you will not be disappointed. I have been a fan from the first time I heard music and I’m sure I’ll be a fan till I die.