Single Review: Travis is a Tourist – Stevie Nicks

By on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Intrepid singer/songwriter Travis Gilbert, aka Travis is a Tourist, recently followed his wanderlust in a rather sudden relocation from Northern Ireland to Paris. And true to his peripatetic professional moniker, Gilbert has written a song about the ups and downs of his new venture. The track’s title ‘Stevie Nicks’ reflects only a passing lyrical mention of the Fleetwood Mac singer (“I met a chick, she looks just like Stevie Nicks…I’d marry her on the spot but I’ve been drinking hard”). But its musical arrangement, whether by accident or by Gilbert’s deliberate design, bears more than a passing resemblance to Fleetwood Mac’s style.

The twangy guitar in the intro to ‘Stevie Nicks’ is symbolic of Fleetwood Mac’s early blues-based style, if only in a very superficial way, but other similarities surface as the song progresses. Gilbert’s warm, husky singing voice and languid lyrical delivery make a convincing correlation to Stevie Nicks’ signature timbre. The harmonic change in the song’s pre-chorus is both unexpected and sophisticated, while the chorus itself and the synth-laced bridge are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s later, mainstream ’80s FM radio sound.

Gilbert’s lyrics portray the dual nature of his experiences abroad. He sings about novelty and excitement in the verse lines “I’m going through the motions without complaint / losing touch with reality but it’s ok / ‘cos I’m playing a show in a brand new place nearly everyday”. But on the other side of the coin, the song’s chorus “carry me home / so I don’t go to sleep alone / ‘cos these days I’m barely holding onto my bones” hints at a yearning loneliness, perhaps even (dare I suggest it?) homesickness.

The Fleetwood Mac references in ‘Stevie Nicks’, both musical and lyrical, are perhaps a bit surprising from a songwriter as youthful as Gilbert. But these, along with Gilbert’s natural knack for storytelling, combine to create a song that is remarkably mature and well-developed, while still keenly relatable and pleasantly listenable.

8/10

‘Stevie Nicks’, the new single from Travis is a Tourist, is available on a pay-what-you-choose basis on his Bandcamp page. TGTF’s previous coverage of Travis is a Tourist, beginning with our first encounter with him at SXSW 2014, is collected here.

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