In 2019, while waiting for his JD McPherson-produced album I’m Still Here to move toward release (now coming in 2021), Tulsa songwriter Travis Linville found his idle hands penning songs left and right. Finding a window to enter the studio between solo tours, and dates as a sideman for Hayes Carll, Linville recorded a new EP, Sounds of the Street, in an October 2019 session at The Butcher Shoppe, the Nashville studio owned by the late John Prine and David Ferguson. And as a sad coda to the session, pandemic induced fates intervened, and The Butcher Shoppe closed shortly thereafter, making Linville’s record one of the last recorded there. Sounds of the Street will be released on October 9, 2020.
The songs on SOTS include two co-writes—lead single ”Brokenhearted #1,” out now. As well as the title track—with fellow Oklahoman and longtime friend Samantha Crain, who was tapped for her profound lyricism and sharp, singular ear for melodies. The collaboration was a departure for Linville, whose solo work has largely been written and produced entirely independently.
“If I’m going to write a song with someone, I want it to be someone I admire as an artist, someone who is going to make me better. I knew Sam would do that,” Linville said. “Both the songs we wrote ended up being my favorites from the session, and both ended up on this release.”
All tracks were co-produced by Linville and Dominic John Davis [Jack White]. Davis and Linville performed in-studio along with Micah Hulscher [Margo Price] and Dennis Holt [Emmylou Harris, T-Bone Burnett]. Sean Sullivan engineered, and Linville mixed and mastered the final record.
“Most of what you hear was played live in one or two takes. Working with Sean at the Butcher Shoppe and with this killer group of musicians was so special,” Linville said. “It was like the sounds were exactly perfect the minute you walked in the door.”
The EP is Linville’s first new release since 2017’s “Up Ahead,” which received accolades from Rolling Stone Country and NPR Music. A lifelong touring musician, Linville has performed on stages with legends including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson in addition to touring and performing with Parker Millsap, Bob Schneider, and John Moreland. Carll, who’s used Linville’s instrumental gifts in touring bands since 2006, calls him “criminally underrated.”