Unable to obtain tickets to the Moncton show I took the option of travelling to Fredericton,NB to the UNB campus to the Aitken Center arena to see Travis Tritt’s Solo Acoustic tour, and I’m glad I did.  Stripped down to just a stool and a couple of acoustic guitars, this show was one that I’m glad I didn’t miss.

The night began by rolling into a very confusing parking lot at the Aitken Center and navigating our way to the front entrance of the building and just in time to catch opening act Ryan Cook.  I was actually surprised to find an opening act but was happy with the choice, Cook is a talented young musician from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia who’s newest album “Peaks & Valleys” was named the best Canadian Country album by Country Music News for 2010 (his previous album “Hot Times” being named the 8th best album in Canada for 2008).  He played a mix of fast and slow songs, like his very humorous songs “OCD Blues”, and a great one about social media and Facebook.  We very much enjoyed his music, his calm confident demeanour with the crowd, and hope to see him perform again soon.

Travis Tritt Solo Acoustic Tour - Aitken Center UNB - Opener Ryan Cook

Then a strange thing occurred, they turned all the overhead lights on, all of them and we waited for about half an hour before the main act took the stage.  The arena this evening was only using one ‘end’ to create an amphitheater style seating arrangement that’s more interactive with the performers.  It gave me the opportunity to notice several different age groups and walks of life were in attendance, even the Premiere of New Brunswick, David Alward, was in attendance about six rows ahead of me.  This signals to me something that I already knew, that Travis Tritt appeals to a variety of crowds and personality types with his blues filled rocking country.

Travis Tritt Solo Acoustic Tour - UNB Aitken Center - Fredericton, NB

Travis Tritt took the stage with a simple announcement over the PA, and the crowd welcomed him vigorously.  With a simple hello he launched right into playing, a novel concept just the musician and a guitar where most acts now tend to go bigger, louder and brighter, Tritt has stripped this down to where it started, where a lot of these songs were written, him and his guitar.  He even commented later in the show, how when discussing his idea for this tour with his people (you just know he has people) that someone commented “who would pay to see that?”, well with the number of ‘sold out’ shows on this tour…a lot of people.

Travis Tritt Solo Acoustic Tour - UNB Aitken Center - Fredericton, NB

Tritt played some great classic tunes to start off the show, like a personal favorite, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” and mixing it up with stories of writing and hanging out with good friends like country legend Marty Stuart.   Rolling through great hits that have spanned the last two plus decades he hit us with songs like “Here’s a Quarter”, “Tell Me I Was Dreaming”, and “Where Corn Don’t Grow”.

Travis Tritt Solo Acoustic Tour - UNB Aitken Center - Fredericton, NB

He told some fantastic stories that led into great songs, about the awe he felt when he met Johnny Cash for the first time, and how one of his personal treasures still at home were a stack of hand written letters from Cash himself.  He then asked if the crowd would mind him playing a few Johnny Cash songs like “I Walk The Line”.   He talked about his great friendship with Waylon Jennings and also played a few Jenning’s tunes as well, much to the joy of the crowd.  Tritt told a wonderful and emotional story about his father and his ‘farm’, his childhood weeding in his father’s garden, before launching into “Fields of Home”.

Travis Tritt Solo Acoustic Tour - UNB Aitken Center - Fredericton, NB

Travis also treat us to an incredible finger-picking instrumental that really showed off his accomplished guitar playing and got the crowd energized once again, and played songs like “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” to end off the night.  Brought back for an encore by the crowd he treated us to three more songs, including an Eagles classic, before ending the night.

If you have the opportunity to see this tour, I highly recommend it, or any Travis Tritt show for that matter, it’s well worth it.  I want to thank Travis Tritt, the Aitken Center, and PMD Concerts for a great evening of great entertainment…until next time!