Travis Tritt mixes country with 'blue-eyed soul' at the Birchmere

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Travis Tritt may have made a splash singing "blue-eyed soul," but he hasn't left his country roots that far behind.

The Grand Ole Opry member is part of an all-star country group that in November will join the legendary George Jones is in his final concert as he heads into retirement. But local fans can hear Tritt, who made his name as a country outlaw in the early '90s, now as he stops on his current tour.

"In some ways it seems like 20 minutes, in some ways it seems like forever," Tritt, who has been absent from the news media for quite a time, told Billboard in a past interview. "I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunities to have the career I've had. In many ways it seems like it was just yesterday that we started, and then when I think about all the time we spent playing those bars and clubs and bowling alleys and beer joints across the country before we ever got a record deal, it seems like forever. It was all worth it, though, in the end. I wouldn't trade a minute of it, not one."

It was more than 25 years ago that Tritt released his debut album Country Club and joined Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Clint Black and others as part of the new breed of country singers that defined the 1990s. Tritt went on to have a number of hot singles, including "Help Me Hold On" and "I'm Gonna Be Somebody," many of which are still reference and covered today.

Onstage
Travis Tritt
» Where: Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
» When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
» Info: $55; 202-397-SEAT; ticketmaster.com

In 2007, Tritt recorded "The Storm," which was produced by American Idol judge and musician Randy Jackson, who praised Tritt's "blue-eyed soul thing" after Tritt and Sam Moore recorded a duet for Moore's 2006 album "Overnight Sensation."

Jackson would know of what he spoke. Prior to his role on American Idol, Jackson played bass with Aretha Franklin and other internationally known artists including Journey. The collaboration, Tritt said, was a perfect match of his talents and interest with those of Jackson.

"Growing up just outside Atlanta, to the north of us you've got the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville," Tritt said. "A little bit South you've got Macon, Ga. -- home of the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and Capricorn Records. And off to west you've got Delta blues. Sprinkle Southern gospel over the top of that, and you're talking about where I came from!"

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner