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Profile by Dolan Ellis

Original member of the New Christy Minstrels, DOLAN ELLIS, 38 years Arizona's Official State Balladeer has known   Travis Edmonson for four decades and personally witnessed his countless contributions to music in the southwest and beyond.

When I am asked to name my musical influences, Travis Edmonson's name is always right up there at the top of the list.  As I was just beginning my career as a folk musician, and years before I was a member of the “Christies”, I was the opening act for Bud & Travis at a wonderful coffee house in Scottsdale.  I was fascinated watching Trav play his Goya guitar in the huapango style.  It was completely mesmerizing.  Unlike so many other “big names” that I had opened for, Travis was gracious enough to invite me to his hotel room a number of times and teach me the magical Mexican strum, as well as many other advanced guitar rhythms.  He even coached me on the lyrics to “Malaguena Salerosa”, which I still sing to this day.

I admire Travis for many reasons: his beautiful voice, his graceful guitar work, and his warm rapport with audiences.  But I feel that one of his greatest contributions has been introducing non-Hispanics to the beautiful music of Mexico.  Travis was named “Tucson's Singing Ambassador of Good Will” many years ago.  An honor that he richly deserves because he brings the diverse cultures of the Southwest together.  Not just Anglo and Hispanic, but also other cultures such as Native Americans and African Americans.

I like to describe Travis as “a man who was born with a song in his heart”.  Travis has lived the pure life of the true troubadour, while most of us have compromised our lifestyles a bit to please mainstream values.  Travis has never let outside influences interfere with the soul of his music and how he felt about it.  Travis has always considered life as a creative thing.  For him, life has been for living and enjoying the moment, and his music has always been the essential element to his happiness.         
Today, Travis is a living legend in folk music.  He has earned his place as an icon of Southwestern music and folklore.  I am proud to be a member of that fraternity of Troubadours which holds such outstanding lives and personalities such as Travis Edmonson.  God Bless You, Brother!

Dolan Ellis
Arizona Official State Balladeer
October 2003

Founder & Resident Artist of the
Arizona Folklore Preserve



Dolan Ellis and Travis Edmonson, friends since Bud & Travis days
Dolan Ellis and Travis Edmonson at the Arizona Folklore Preserve, August 2001
(photo by Bonnie Brock

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