Song Review – Travis Tritt’s “Ghost Town Nation”

“It ain’t no big deal, it’s just Armageddon.”

Of all the implausibles of 2020, who would have thunk that Travis Tritt would be the one to release one of the most topically-relevant songs of the time? In his first new taste of original music in 13 years, he not only puts some “drive” in his country as he once famously compelled us all to do in 1990 with the flowing locks of his atomic mullet waterfalling over his shoulders, Tritt also brings some Chris Stapleton soul to the equation, complete with a blustery backup chorus.

Speaking to the incited times we live in—where certain city scapes have been deemed “anarchist jurisdictions” by the federal government, and Molotov cocktails are the beverage of choice of gangs of rioters—Travis Tritt offers the reminder that no matter what fresh hell descends upon civilization, as Hank Jr. once said in his own saw during troubled times, “A Country Boy Can Survive.”

Though the country has its fair share of meth-addled morons whose one survival instinct during the COVID-19 onset was to buy up all the toilet paper from their local Dollar General and Piggly Wiggly, per capita country folks are more willing and able to live off the land if necessary compared to soft-centered suburbanites, and city dwellers whose sole food source is the local Trader Joe’s.

As doomsday predictions continue to be offered ahead of an impending Presidential election in the U.S.A. that’s likely to be elongated, if not contentiously contested, the message of “Ghost Town Nation” will ring loudly for all of those with a backup plan, from rednecks armed to the teeth, to REI-equipped survivalist preppers with their water purification tablets at the ready.

Some, if not many will get hung up on the politics of Travis Tritt from his Twitter antics, writhing at the mere mention of his name like a body being de-possessed in an exorcist documentary. But in truth, “Ghost Town Nation” also has an underlying message that is much more universal. The song wasn’t written as a response to Antifa demonstrations. As many mid-sized towns throughout the United States have fallen on hard times due to Globalization and the drying up of blue-collar jobs, and COVID-19 relief has disproportionately flowed to the privileged few and pummeled independent business, many once thriving communities have been thrust into ghost town status.

But in reality, “Ghost Town Nation” written by Aaron Raitiere and JB Strauss is not intended to go too deep into the psyche. Like much of Travis Tritt’s most legendary output, it’s Southern rock for the country demo, with plenty of buzzwords, meaty guitar solos, and deeply-etched grooves to get you singing along, bobbing your head, and feeling right. Who knew a song about impending doom could be so fun? If Cobra Kai can be the hottest thing on Netflix, why can’t Travis Tritt be one of the hottest things in country? It sure beats the hell out of most modern alternatives.

“Ghost Town Nation” comes ahead of an impending studio album from Travis Tritt produced by Dave Cobb. The song is nothing special, but something new from Tritt will be welcomed by many fans of country and Southern rock, and fits right into his repertoire, which like much of the music of the 80’s and early 90’s, is receiving fair reconsideration given hellscape that is today’s popular country music. No matter what trends or troubles grip the world, actual music played by actual humans, and delivered with conviction will always survive.

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