Today, Traveller have announced their debut album, Western Movies, out May 4th on Refuge Foundation for the Arts. The band also revealed a new track, “Hummingbird“. LISTEN TO “HUMMINGBIRD” HERE. Traveller is comprised of Robert Ellis, Cory Chisel and Jonny Fritz, “a trio with a combined discography that stands as one of the most illustrious in 21st-century Americana music. Fritz has been called a logical heir to country’s great wit Roger Miller; Chisel is a poet of the North who’s collaborated with Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell; Ellis has pulled apart the Gordian knot of roots music clichés on albums as inventive as they are emotionally powerful,” said NPR. Traveller will head out on a U.S. tour beginning on the album’s release day.
Longtime friends and well-respected solo artists, Robert Ellis and Jonny Fritz had been writing together for quite some time when they got the hair-brained idea to head to India to write a “country” record. The two set off on their epic journey but after an ill-advised exuberant jump into the Ganges, Ellis got ill and nearly died. Though Ellis was fortunate enough to kill the bug that had overtaken his body, the idea of this collaboration didn’t die. A few months later they roped in Cory Chisel, a GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter and friend who had a recording studio in the Wisconsin monastery he ran as an arts space. Chisel rounded out the group and within two weeks the trio wrote an album full of songs and made their debut at the Newport Folk Festival, also playing Stagecoach and ACL that year.
In the spirit of The Highwaymen, Ellis, Chisel and Fritz each play to their strengths – three band leaders taking turns showing their stuff as well practiced performers and musicians. But they also play with the trope of the “supergroup” and the been-there-done-that-played-every-venue musician, injecting a tongue-in-cheek humor into both the lyrical content and their live performance.
Traveller will be on tour throughout the month of May. Highlights include two nights at Union Pool in Brooklyn on May 8th and 9th and their spiritual hometown (and the town where all three resided) of Nashville on May 12th at The Basement East. Full tour dates below.
May 04 – Cranky Pats – Neenah, WI
May 05 – Ballroom at 31 West – Newark, OH (w/ Dawes)