Travis Denning Stays ‘Honest and True’ To Himself On New EP, ‘Might As Well Be Me’
“I’ve got a lot to sing about,” the rising star admits.
Travis Denning; Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson
Travis Denning decided that his new EP was going to be the one that really tells his stories and shows who he is as an artist and as a person. Of course, the title had to match this idea, which is how he landed on Might As Well Be Me.
The title of the just-released collection was pulled right out of the opening lyrics of the leading track, “Red Round Here.”
“Somebody’s gotta keep it red ’round here/Hold it down, down here/Pump a county line sign full of lead ’round here, yeah/Crank some Hank on the bank, throw some bait on a limb line/ Hangin’ on a tree/Yeah, I’ve been thinking somebody’s gotta keep it red ’round here/Might as well be me,” he sings in the chorus.
According to Denning, this is the “most country” collection he’s ever recorded. He drew inspiration from the classic 2000s country artists he grew up on like Rhett Akins, while also maintaining a bit of that hard-hitting sound he loves so much.
“I think I just don’t really give too much of a damn anymore,” Denning recently told Country Now and other outlets. “It’s more about like, I want to go record the kind of songs and music that I wanna record. So for me, It’s gonna have a little bit of that throwback. It’s still gonna have rock and roll and the heavy guitars, but I think it just comes down to making the music that I would love to listen to. That’s what kind of came out of it.”
In fact, the singer-songwriter wrote the track, “River Named Mississippi,” thinking that it would feel like Akins might have recorded the song himself during his career.
“I want the drums to kick you in the face. I want it to, when you crank it up in your truck, just bumping the subs,” he explained.
When it came to choosing which songs to incorporate, Denning decided not to worry about the usual things that artists take into account like “does it feel like a hit? Is it upbeat? Is it tempo? Is it something you love? Something you wanna sing? Is it something that feels like it’s you?”
Instead, he focused on making sure he stayed “honest and true” about what’s going on in this chapter of his life. This way, when he gets up on stage to perform these songs, nobody will question whether or not what he’s singing is about him.
“She’s On It,” for example, is one of the oldest songs Denning has ever recorded, and it still holds great meaning to him. It was written in 2016 and this year, it became the “anchor” for his entire project.
Not only did he carefully select the songs for his third EP, but he also prioritized the sequence in order to make it feel like a complete journey. Once everything was recorded, the best way for him to make the decision was by riding around in his truck, listening to the tracks in a different order and making sure not to skip through any of them.
“I want to kick the teeth in on the first song or two. That’s what I love to do,’ he said.
Ending on a more serious note, the last song on the collection titled “If You Need Anything Down Here,” is a particularly special song for the Georgia native. It reiterates the message that we’ve all sent to our loved ones at some point or another to let them know that we have their back.
“I feel blessed that the Idea fell into my hands. I mean, I really do. It was born out of a conversation I had with somebody with my soon-to-be brother-in-law and it felt like the perfect way to end the EP because I do think if you listen front down, I just want people to leave going, ‘I got a piece of everything that this person is living right now,’ you know? I think music’s supposed to be that.”
A few of the songs off the 6-track project have already been released including “She’s On It” and “Buy A Girl A Drink,” which is one he immediately knew would make the EP. Not only is this a universal love song that people can relate to, but it is also the true story of Denning’s relationship with his fiancée Madison.
Before fans get to fall in love with this song and the story, Denning looked to Madison for her thoughts. Without a doubt, she was instantly hooked on “Buy A Girl A Drink.”
“The first time I played it for her, I was like, look, we’re like halfway through the chorus. Our lives together are like on bar four, we’re at the get a ring part of the chorus. So it’s fun. I mean, everything about it is totally true and so pulled from our life.”
Making it a goal to be more “reactive” this year, Denning got himself into the studio every two to three months to really dive into his songwriting. This put pressure on him to write with an upcoming record in mind. Since he has reached this new stage in life, Denning’s music has evolved with him. As a result, the songs on this collection are significantly different and far more personal than what he’s created in the past.
“I’m turning 30 this year, getting married next year. I’ve got a lot to sing about.”
Soon, he’ll be able to incorporate the new songs into his setlist, including “River Named Mississippi.” This is the track that Denning is most looking forward to performing live in the upcoming months.
“It’s just got such great energy and It’s just so easy. it’s just laid back and it’s fun,” he shared.
Fans can catch Travis Denning on the road with artists such as Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen throughout the rest of 2022.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.