To get at the core of Travis Edmonson's wide and growing appeal as a popularizer of folk music, I would suggest you pay particular attention to his graphic Time of Man in this collection. It is his own song, and it communicates without
pretentiousness or melodrama Edmonson's basic view of existence. In this, as in other numbers he sings, Edmonson is acutely aware of how full life can be. But in Time of Man, he also focuses on how unwittingly and definitively we can destroy all there is to share. The power of this interpretation lies in Edmonson's capacity to be emotionally direct, spare in his use of imagery, and attuned to the key issue of our time.
Elsewhere in the album, other aspects of Edmonson's story-telling skill are lyrically clear. In Cuanta La Mera, he demonstrates his ease and delight in the Spanish musical idiom of his native southwest. The relaxed, ruminative pace of I'm A Drifter is a reminder of Edmonson's own, uniquely diversified experiences as a hobo, truck driver, wandering writer, and anthropologist. He can also express leaping vigor, which he does in Ashville Junction, and then change his mood to illuminate loneliness and determination, which he does in 'Cross The Plains. His fancifulness is evident in the updating of Judgment Day, while Things I've Saved has an appeal similar to the evocative simplicity of Time of Man.
Edmonson's ability to weave and sustain a quickening mood can be heard in The Web. He manages in Ellen to underline a feeling of aching loss without slipping into mawkishness. A further reminder of his scope is the high-spirited animal caravan of Cape Anne. In Sonora is an affecting blend of warmth and gracefulness, and the final One for the Money emphasizes the buoyant charm that characterizes all his work.
Travis Edmonson has already had an extensive background as a highly personalized entertainer. He has worked with Roger Smith (of 77 Sunset Strip), spent three and a half years with the Gateway Singers, and became even more widely known in his appearances as half the team of Bud and Travis. His material has been utilized by many folk singing groups, and Travis himself has appeared in an impressive range of night clubs and concert engagements. Among the former have been the Village Gate and the Blue Angel in New York, Chicago's Gate of Horn, the Hungry i and the Purple Onion in San Francisco, the Clouds in Hawaii, the Thunderbird in Las Vegas, and the heterogeneous Los Angeles circuit of the Crescendo, the Ash Grove, the Troubadour, and the Renaissance. He has been featured in scores of college engagements and on a number of television shows.
Travis Edmonson continues to broaden his musical interests, and a recent project involves the writing of a Broadway show which is due in the fall of 1963. Also in the works is a volume of his own songs and guitar stylings. It appears quite obvious that Mr. Edmonson is only beginning to discover his potential, and on the basis of his record so far, I expect that he can become a sanguine influence on popular music. Certainly the tender poignancy of his song, South Wind, indicates a distinctive writing talent and the straightforward morality of Time of Man heralds a performer who can also think clearly. Furthermore, as this album shows, he is a tasteful, resilient singer who, without strain, is very much his own man.
- NAT HENTOFF
Frank Sinatra's admiration of Travis Edmonson's
singing - most especially those exquisite boleros - resulted in the cutting of this album for Reprise, his first solo effort.
In addition to provoking the charming thought of Sinatra listening to the kind of folk music college students of the day were digging, the record has the distinction of containing Travis Edmonson performing his song of Conscience, “The Time of Man” (which he and Bud Dashiell sang before a joint session of Congress, but never on record).
I’m A Drifter
New Ashville Junction
Cross the Plains
The Things I've Saved
The Time of Man
One For The Money
denotes Travis Edmonson compositions
denotes Travis Edmonson arrangements
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