What people are saying about Backward Crooked From The Sunset
…avant folky jazz a la Frank Zappa with the spirit of Randy Newman and Spike Jones, with an introspective lyricism… a superb record that you sip, savoring its twists and turns, instead of swallowing whole.
Stunning song craft with batshit brilliant delivery as performed by the crazy uncles and auntie you wish you always had. The crowd’s permagrin doe-see-doed with their slack-jaws and their hearts all grew a size and their freed minds taught their asses a new dance. Then again, what more could you ever expect from being blessed by Chandler’s one-of-a-kind presence and performance?
Irascibly savvy, a versatile, virtuosic musician that can seem both mad as a radish and as serious as Beethoven’s little hippie brother within the length of a single measure, Chandler Travis is one of those artists that, by natural inclination, operates inside that twinkling sphere of inspiration populated by but a select few fellow travelers. A feast of splendid restraint, this is a casually rich, often humorous, more often poignant gambol down Chandler Travis Avenue, where the specters of Randy Newman, Carole King, Bob Dylan, and Irving Berlin loiter with intent in every doorway. If nothing else – and one could continue, conjuring a cascade of accolades until the Cowsills come home – the work on “Backward” proves that an understated tour-de-force is arguably more impactful than the full-on brouhaha. If you value song, listen and rejoice!
In an age where music has been reduced to tacky ever-present wallpaper, canned and tinny at gas station pumps or airplanes parked at the gate, Travis and his band transform it back into a vital life force via their whimsical and soulful performances, a celebration of community and heart, with songs that include folk, power pop, vaudeville and some New Orleans spirit.
Ably done with a gentle and engaging stripped-down simplicity, this album wins the listener over on the basis of its considerable folksy charm alone. Chandler Travis not only possesses a pleasantly hoarse voice, but also has a firm grasp of delicately dulcet melodies and an equally sturdy knack for sweet plain-spoken lyrics. The expert playing and harmonic arrangements further enhance the overall lovely quality of this perfectly fine little beaut.
Quirky, irreverent and highly skilled, Cape Cod’s Chandler Travis and his Three-O play downhome, folk-inspired tracks that boast of unbridled irreverence. For people who appreciate the art of a gifted raconteur and a highly proficient crafter of intelligence, personalized songs, ‘Backward Crooked From the Sunset’ is a perfect soundtrack for the summer.
A sentimental softie, an astute observer of life, a prankster with a pen – Travis is all of the above. He’s also a lyrical literalist, a writer whose songs come straight to the point, and “Backward Crooked From the Sunset” is an album that captures the joy and genius that is the trademark of the Chandler Travis Three-O.
The group’s sound is hobo countrypolitan; a wonderfully ragged blend of folky melodicism, jazz smarts and show tunes. There are delightful little hooks scattered throughout, a bass clarinet line here, tinkling bells there and the omnipresent bass melodies.
…the joy of music personified, just brimming with wit, warmth, and childlike wonder. I found myself on the verge of happy tears for ¾ of their set, and when they played the song ‘National Geographic,’ I was just done for. Something about the utter sweetness of Travis’ voice, the lovely instrumentation and harmony from the band behind him, and the earnestness of this beautiful little song about learning more about the world around us just killed me (in a good way). It was a powerful reminder of the goodness and light that exists even when things in the world seem sort of dark. The Three-O is an antidote for all the dark stuff.
…take the “Pet Sounds” experience and add, say, Sparks’ “Propaganda and Wizzard’s “Introducing Eddy and the Falcons” experiences – and you get something approaching my state of mind and ears listening to the twelve tracks on “Backward Crooked From the Sunset.” Fun? Completely. Funny? Yes, or perhaps more witty. Fulla surprises? At every turn. And like that beautiful (if slightly over-referenced) Beach Boys album, blossoming with lush instrumentation and haunting harmonies.