Written by Kathy Szmit
It’s no secret that love is a complex emotion, especially when a romance comes to an end. Even when such endings are amiable, there is a bittersweet melancholy involved.
Cape Cod’s Chandler Travis knows this and makes it harmoniously clear on his latest CD After She Left. Like love itself, this compilation of self-written tunes is an evocative mix of sadness, longing, stubbornness, tradition, humor and kind-hearted acceptance.
The album begins with the smooth, sax-infused song “Last Thing I Needed,” chronicling the discomfort at running into an old love, one for whom old feelings still haven’t quite ebbed.
While the lyrics speak of a man’s recollection of doing just fine in life until running into said old flame and how that meeting unsettles him, the tune is not edgy or the slightest bit angry.
Instead, Travis sings with a sense of familiarity, a sort of “been there and done that” air. The listener also gets the feeling that maybe he’s not sorry he ran into her after all.
Next comes the song that ought to be dedicated to every insecure individual in love. “By Now You Know” is clearly an attempt at answering the oft-asked question, “why do you love me?”
With the voice of someone who clearly knows, Travis delivers and answer that is at one thoughtful and to the point, enhanced by perfectly plucked guitar strings and the soothing thrum of an upright bass.
One of the best songs on the CD is surely “Ticky Don’t Do That.” The tune is all at once danceable, funky, and a unique means of conveying frustration with the challenges love brings when someone gets too uptight.
Then there is the plaintive “Calling Me Back Home,” in which the singer seems to be wondering why love can’t be easier, and how it is he keeps getting caught up in the same old patterns.
The album comes full circle with “Goodbye,” a song that one can easily imagine playing while the movie credits roll.
What makes this CD so special is that Travis’ music, his strong but mellifluous voice finely woven with myriad instruments, has truly broad appeal. This is a CD to listen to on a rainy afternoon while organizing old photos and remembering good times long gone.
It would also make for a great Sunday drive soundtrack, winding nicely through one’s soul as the car winds along the road.
Wherever you are on the road or in your love journey, give After She Left a listen. It will stay with you through all of love’s complexities.