By Rebecca Belt
TRAVIS Collins will take a message of healing to the stage this weekend as he begins touring his new album, The Brave and the Broken.
This album is not his first rodeo, but the day prior to release he told The Country Journo’s Rebecca Belt that he was more nervous and excited than when he released his debut offering all those years ago.
“It’s such a huge effort this record and such a true reflection of where I’m at with my music and my life,” Travis said.
“I’m super proud of this record; there’s not a song on it that doesn’t reflect me.”
The album came from a place of healing.
“The songs are about being the best person you can be and being the bravest you can be for those you care about when they’re at their broken,” Travis said.
“That sentiment echoes through almost every song. It’s something I really wanted to pay attention to, after seeing people doing things in aid of other people.”
Tracks including Unsung, are about people who make small anonymous efforts everyday.
“I was always brought up to put back in to what you take out,” he said.
“This record has really hit a spot that I have been trying to get to or a while and I’m so proud of the message in this record.”
Travis lives by this mantra of giving back, starting the Travis Collins Scholarship this year for an aspiring country music artist to attend The Academy senior course, formerly the CMAA Academy of Country Music, and holding a drought a fundraising concert last week, Thursday, August 16, in his hometown of Cessnock.
He began planning the concert only six days before it was held, and wasn’t sure if people could get organised quickly enough to make it a success.
“I put up a save the date on Facebook on Thursday (August 9) morning and thought that people couldn’t justify the family going to a concert with only a week’s notice, but it turns out they only needed six days’ notice,” he said.
“Drought is a big, complex issue and needs a lot more attention by government. What we need more is ongoing pressure to support the ag sector and it’s about educating our public that we don’t wait until everyone’s at our wit’s end to do something.
“Let’s find out what milk supports farmers, what supermarkets are making farmers beg for mercy and we need to boycott them. I’m very passionate about farming and the land.”
With this concert held the night before the album was released, it’s clear Travis is living by the message in his songs.
This time around even the album cover is different to what the Hunter Valley artist would normally do.
“I’ve never looked at the camera on an album cover, but this time we brought in the lighting and we have one side lit up, to represent the brave side, and then there’s the dark side that says I’m having a rough time,” he said.
“That can be in the same person because you just don’t know who the heroes are in our society – someone who so shy and awkward could be the person who jumps out of their car and saves somebody’s life.”
Because Travis is in such a happy place in his life at the moment, this album is joyful.
“The last few record was about how good things can come from hard times, but this one is about rejoicing the good things,” he said.
The album reached No. 1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart, but Travis said he never looked at the charts and waited for his manager to let him know when it peaked.
It is at live shows, though, that this album will shine.
Travis said The Brave and the Broken, more than any of his previous albums, is meant to be played live, so fans are in for a treat with the new show.
“We’ve put seven new songs in the set list because this new album was written to play live,” he said.
“It’s about more than selling albums, this is meant to make people feel good.”
Travis will take his songs all the way to the Main Stage at the Gympie Music Muster this weekend with one track inspired by the festival.
“The track, It’s Just Music, came from when I was standing side of stage at the Gympie Muster last year and looking out at the crowd, looked at the volunteers, and thought this is all raising money for charities and it’s quite phenomenal,” he said.
“I love to walk around the campsites and look at the number plates and they’re from everywhere. It got me thinking about the power of music and it being such a cool vehicle to bring people together.”