Travis Whitelaw - Beer & Booty (CD, Skull Bros, Country/pop)
By Baby Sue | May 1, 2014
If you're lookin' for somethin' with a serious slant, you'd be well-advised to steer clear of this one. Travis Whitelaw is a comedian using music in order to deliver his goofy redneck ramblings. To give an idea of where this guy is coming from...imagine havingRay Stevens reappear in 2014 as a scruffy redneck swilling beer...and there you have it. Whitelaw is playing for a very specific audience--folks who just wanna down a few beers, laugh, and have a good time. But while Travis is mainly a comedian spewing out irreverent lyrics for those who live to party, his band is not a joke at all. We found a video of Whitelaw and his band playing "Chokin' the Chicken" live at Banjo Jim's and we were mighty impressed at how damn good they are. So there is some solid real playing goin' on here behind the crazy lyrics. This is either your kinda thing or it just ain't. Ten whoopin' cuts includin' "Shootin' Beer Cans Off My Fence," "Hillbilly Filly," Dumass," and "Blue Balls."
Guitar Player Magazine
If you can imagine a roguish, Tele-totin' singing cowboy who's as influenced by the rebel country of Steve Earle (think "The Week of Living Dangerously") as he is by the T&A-centric humor of the Porky's trilogy, you've got Travis Whitelaw. While his greasy guitar tones and silky pedal steel textures are tasteful and twangy enough to be exports of Music Row, Whitelaw's unabashedly un-P.C. lyrics (though witty in places) most definitely are not. Gleefully trying to blow the roof off an NC-17 rating, this funny ten-song redneck comedy collection would probably be vulgar enough to get Whitelaw run out of Nashville, were he actually based there. But before you write Sexarkana! off as pure novelty, remember that whether it's unrestrained ribaldry or something else that's waiting to bubble up from your subconscious, sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is grab a couple of guitars, head into the studio, and let the bucking bull that is your id finally burst out of its cage. Skull Bros. -Jude Gold
Travis Whitelaw's Sexarkana!
By Randy Harward
Comic country-and-western troubadour Travis Whitelaw has a dirty mind. It's downright filthy. Could be he's sick. Or, maybe he's just a lazy hack. Real funnymen can find absurdity in the day-to-day, so why does he have to work blue?
At first blush, Whitelaw's bawdy roadhouse rockers and ballads are Larry the Cable Guy simple. He gives it to a snooty feminist ("She Likes It Rough") and invokes the old chestnut "As Long As I Have a Face (You've Got a Place to Sit)." None of those seem terribly crafty, and some have that red-state stank-especially in their country context. "Reel Cowboys," for example, concerns a Larry-esque character whose wife bamboozles him into seeing Brokeback Mountain, which, he opines, insults the sacred tradition of uber-manly Western films.
Yet "Bristol's Baby Daddy (The Ballad of Levi's Johnson)" ain't the work of a blue-collar hack-it's a Sarah Palin slam. And "Tits or Tires" (either one'll break your heart), "Viva Mexico" (singin' the praises of BJs in TJ) and "My Bozap" (euphemisms are universal) are pretty funny despite being misogynistic, xenophobic/hypocritical (if Americas so great, why do we have to go to Mexico for a donkey show?), and a dick joke.
Whitelaw's songs epitomize puerility, but we laugh just like when we first heard "Barnacle Bill the Sailor," "My Ding-A-Ling," "The Plexiglass Toilet Song" and "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow." It's because everyone, sometime, is horny, fascinated with their own genitalia, or has to do Numbers One or Two. It's funny 'cause it's true.
Whitelaw's work goes beyond that, though. There are salient social and political points in his music, not just on "Bristol." Why, he asks, aren't we as sick of humorless femi-nazis as we are of tight-assed conservative housefraus? One's as shrill as the other, and often extreme in their views. Are we missing the joke in "Reel Cowboys"? Of course it's not at all funny when Mr. Manly's bigotry colors his vote and impinges on the happiness of gays, but watching him get dyspeptic over an offense to something he considers high art-and the thought of him squirming like a slug in a salt pile-is comedy gold.
And as for faces and places to sit, that's just sweet devotion.
So it could be Sexarkana is some kind of utopia, where everyone is held accountable for their B.S. "I give everyone hell," Whitelaw says. "That's my business. On this record, I have fun with Mexicans, feminists, rub n' tug girls in Korean massage parlors, and dumb rednecks-Ain't nobody safe." Whether that leads to actual social progress remains to be seen.