What people are saying about Chandler and the Three-O

What Frank Sinatra is to New York City, what Bruce Springsteen is to New Jersey, what Elvis Presley is to Memphis, Chandler Travis is to Cape Cod. — Daniel McDermott, Provincetown Magazine

Dixieland romps, twisted Mardi Gras marches, sweaty 60’s rock, smoky torch songs, and occasional novelties that sound somewhere between Randy Newman and They Might Be Giants, all with hilariously offbeat lyrics. The world would be a better place if Travis would only visit more often. — Sam Hurwitt, San Francisco Express

What really ropes you in is the awesomely courageous and gentle way Travis explores human emotion. All his many love songs are at the heart of it all meditations on this theme– not sentimental wishy-washy fantasies of imaginary happiness, but site specific stories of two way streets, cul-de-sacs, and dead ends. It’s honest in confronting the tragic aspects, as well as the delirious joys, of falling in, out of, and sideways in love. — Joel Patterson, Nippertown (Albany, NY)

The amazing Three-o is our favorite: they can play anything the highly unconventional nine-piece Dixieland/avant-jazz/pop Philharmonic can play, and then some. The focus is tighter, and the songwriting, which has always been at the heart of Chandler’s bands, gets center stage in a way that is not possible with the riotous pageantry of the full Philharmonic. — Sarah Craig, Caffe Lena, Director



smart, swinging and winningly strange… a fairly fantastical free-wheeling show full of memorable tunes — Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer

…Jonathan Richman for adults… — Christopher Walsh, The Republic of Letters

He’s a true New England eccentric, a master of daft power pop, and live, he plays in his pajamas… — Rob Tannenbaum, Village Voice

…dazzling musicianship and fearless merry-making… explores the terrains of love and life’s absurdities with rowdiness, tenderness and a sardonic faith in humanity that never wavers… we’re witnesses and co-conspirators in something that feels magical. — Joel Patterson, Nippertown!

Great songs. Great harmonies. Clever arrangements, visuals, and just a whole lot of fun. — A.J. Wachtel, the Noise

…one of rock’s true originals. — John Swenson, UPI

An ineffable blend of humor, sincerity and lush dreaminess -not to mention that the Three-O is entertaining, charming, and spell-binding to watch! — Joel Patterson, Nippertown (Albany, NY)

…a one-of-a-kind songwriter whose absurdist wit coexists with a bruised idealism that gives his best tunes a deep and haunting resonance. — Scott Schinder, Time Out New York

about “This is What Bears Look Like Underwater”

Make the Small Things Pretty” is a pop song with the damndest sense of dynamics I’ve ever heard, flowing along at an easygoing pace—so easygoing!—and with lush melodic breaks which slow the pace even further, yet somehow it works brilliantly, mostly due to the irresistibly chiming hook in the main guitar line. It’s a song every bit as risky and rewarding as a Brian Wilson confection like “The Little Girl I Once Knew.” Nearly as great is the inimitably loping, gorgeously melodic and impeccably constructed toe-tapper “Paper Roses.” The astonishing thing about this record is that the pace is mostly slowed way down, yet the melodic values are so strong that on the best numbers you can hardly bring yourself to stop tapping your feet all the same. — Francis DiMenno, the Noise

The disc feels at times like a back-porch session somewhere near Morocco, at other times like a lazy ramble through a smoke-filled pawn shop. All that salt air seems to produce a devil-may-care approach that results in songs that are nonetheless incisive and compelling. — James Heflin, Valley Advocate (Northampton, MA)

[Five stars (top rating!)] The album’s almost uniformly ridiculously good… hungry, sad, beautiful, and funny – a collection of music so cumulatively beautiful that imagining its live impact is almost painful. — Mary Leary, Blurt Online

…a record that’s full of sincere joy, lacking a single particle of jaded attitude. Plus, as far as categories go, I’d have no idea where to place it. That’s always a good thing for my ears. — Mark Saleski, Something Else!

Chandler Travis Three-o

The Chandler Travis Three-o, like most things in life, started by mistake, as a result of Chandler having having a hard time finding rooms large enough to house his nine-piece Chandler Travis Philharmonic. In 2009 or so, a couple of small, friendly bars opened on Cape Cod (the first being the Harvest Wine Gallery in Dennis) that asked Chandler about doing something with just another person or two, which wasn’t at all the direction he’d been going in.

These offers coincided happily with the arrivals in the Philharmonic of string bassist John Clark and jack of all trades (but especially saxophonist, keyboardist, and clarinetist) Berke McKelvey. Chandler had dabbled in smaller formats before, but in Clark and McKelvey he suddenly had two extremely talented and enthusiastic players who shared his passion for detailing, arranging, and rehearsing. Both played beautifully on his recent solo album, 2009’s well received “After She Left“, which turned out to be sort of a petri dish version of the live group to come, and with the frequent addition of vocalist and longtime supporter Fred Boak, aka The Valet (for what good is a Three-o with only three people?), the Three-o was born.

At least two unexpected surprises followed: it gradually became evident that the Three-o could play just about anything the full version of the band could play, once they put in the time to adjust the arrangements, plus a few things it couldn’t; and it immediately became evident that audiences responded to the tighter focus in a delightful way, clearly picking up on the songwriting, which has always been at the heart of the matter in all of Chandler’s bands, in a way they didn’t when confronted with all the many distinctive personalities and riotous pageantry of the full CTP or the hell-bent-on-filling-the-dance-floor high energy of his other band, the Incredible Casuals. The vast simplification seemed to engage people in a disarming and unassuming way, quieter and more direct. Lo and behold: it was dug!

2012 saw the release of two digital songs to commemorate the new year (January, Drunk Angry People Shut Up),and the debut album, This is What Bears Look Like Underwater, arrived in January of 2013.

Music Samples

For examples of what the Chandler Travis Three-o sounds like, we recommend our 2012 debut album:

Our digital releases:

and these “Song of the Weak” selections:

Photos