Watch Travis Tritt Shred On The Banjo During Bluegrass Concert From 2002

Travis Tritt

Travis Tritt on the banjo and Vince Gill playing mandolin almost sounds too good to be true.

But it did happen once back in 2002, and the video footage has me thinking we may have peaked twenty years ago…

If you didn’t know, Travis Tritt started his music career in the bluegrass scene. His music interest started early in life when he was gifted a guitar and taught himself to play, and by high school he had formed a bluegrass band with a few friends, even winning a few local competitions.

Knowing his background, it shouldn’t be a complete shocker that Travis can shred a banjo, but quite frankly I was flabbergasted when I saw this video. No amount of history on his life could have prepared me to see him breaking it down on the bluegrass classic, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

But then, the video pans over and I was doubly surprised to see Vince Gill giving the mandolin his darndest, and his talent is nothing to shake your head at either.

The two were featured alongside late bluegrass legend, Earl Scruggs and host Ricky Skaggs on the early 2000s HBTV feature, the All-Star Bluegrass Celebration (which I have since binged in its entirety). The show had so many guest appearances it’s hard to even name them all, and you’d be surprised just how many of your old favorites can kick up their heels to some bluegrass tunes.

Make no mistake, the impeccable harmony and composition of the music and its timing is not amateur work. These folks know exactly what they’re doing up there.

But without further ado, here is Travis Tritt dominating a banjo solo.

Travis Tritt On The Three Attributes An Artist Needs To Earn His Full Respect

If you’re a young artist trying to make it in country music, you need to listen up.

The one and only Travis Tritt stopped by the Whiskey Riff Raff podcast to talk all sorts of things, like his album Set In Stonewhat it was like when you could still smoke in bars, and he also had some fascinating things to say about the three elements he believes make a successful and authentic artist.

Unlike a lot of the people you see at the top of the charts today, Travis spent years cutting his and teeth playing his music in dive bars and small venues around the south. He gained invaluable experience in how to play for a live audience by doing that.

Mostly, he learned what types of things he could do on stage and what would really work for him. He noted that, if he decided to cover a Charley Pride or Waylon Jennings song, it always seemed to work. For some reason, George Strait was a no-go when it came to his live shows and how the crowd responded.

Ultimately, it gave him the essential confidence to hold his own when it came to moving to Nashville and signing a record deal:

“Because the first thing that a record label will try to do, in most cases, is they’ll tell you ‘Oh, we love what you do, man, we love what you do. We wanna sign you to a deal.’

And as soon as they sign you to a deal, ‘Well, okay, we wanna change this. We wanna change this about you.’

And it’s like, most people go along with it simply because of the fact that they don’t have anything in their history to stand on to say, ‘Well now wait a minute, I don’t necessarily agree with that. Because I know from personal experience that my audience won’t accept that from me.’

And they just go along with it, and I feel sorry for them, I really do.”

Louder for the people in the back, Travis. Louder for the people in the back…

Of course, there’s still a few of them around today who seem to have that same authenticity, and he’s specifically mentioned artists like Cody Jinks and Luke Combs in the past.

Then, he hits us with the three elements that get his attention when it comes to genuine artists and the music he wants to listen to. It’s pretty incredible advice for anyone trying to make it in the business… plus, I think Travis knows a thing or to about finding success in country music.

There’s a few non-negotiables you have to have, and I think he’s pretty spot on with this advice:

“You know the people that get get my attention, and the people that get my respect, are usually for the most part, there has to be three things.

I like somebody that writes their own material. A songwriter. Or writes most of their own material, I like that.

Also, somebody that can play an instrument proficiently. That gets my attention. That says talent to me.

And then somebody who knows how to go out there on stage and be themselves and not sound like anybody else. You recognize that person right off the bat.”

He also mentions Miranda Lambert as one of those people, and if you don’t have that whole package, you’re probably not going to stand out much in this industry:

“For me, they have to have all three of those elements in order to get my full attention and my full respect.”

I couldn’t agree more. If you think about that advice, along with the aforementioned artists, they seem to have all of that tenfold. It’s exactly why they’re the best of the best.

And, there’s one other thing that’s important in terms of live shows and entertaining audiences:

“I’m impressed by people that can just walk on a stage, no band, just themselves and a guitar, and hold an audience in the palm of their hand for however long they want to.

Very few people can do that in this industry and those people definitely get my respect.”

I could list countless performances we’ve shared here before, like Miranda’s last minute solo performance of “Tin Man” a few years ago, anything Chris Stapleton does, and it goes on and on.

Just search the word “acoustic” on our website and you’ll find countless examples.

One of my favorite things about any given artist is when they can do just that, though. Strip down a song they wrote by themselves, play an acoustic guitar on stage alone, and bare exactly who they are while the audience is so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the room.

It’s as close a thing to magic as I presume you can really find anymore.

If that ain’t country music, I don’t know what is.

Download the podcast on Apple Podcasts by searching “Whiskey Riff Raff,clicking here, or listen on Spotify and wherever else you can listen to podcasts.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock