Travis Dow: “Share It With The World”
By Will Foreman
What Travis never would have said about himself was that he was one of the great souls of modern music. From the very beginning he wrote songs that deeply touched the hearts of people of all ages. His music was both personal and universal. He could have been a classicist but instead he chose genres that could reach more people. He wanted to bring new meaning to everyday experiences, meanings that would enhance our self-respect and our appreciation for all that we are.
A Selection of Songs By Travis Dow
In his personal life people, especially the women who knew him, often commented on his unusual ability to connect by honestly articulating his own deep feelings and by exploring the feelings of others. This is seen over and over again in the lyrics of his songs: Travis loved music as an art, and he wanted it to carry information that was both entertaining and useful to people. He strived to give us an understanding of those moments in our lives when we have only a few minutes to reflect on what is happening to us. Folk music was his first venture, followed by moves to popular contemporary music, then country music, and at times creating a genre quite his own. He wrote the music to three volumes of lyrics for a musical theatre piece. Shifting artfully back and forth among the modes and styles made possible by the nature of music in the digital age, he utilized the talents of others whenever appropriate. He was versatile enough to play several different instruments and to collaborate smoothly with others interested in creating new approaches to music.
From The Fate of Dreams Trilogy
In my collaboration with him he had the self-confidence of someone open to new ideas. Frankly, I regarded him as a genius in his ability to artfully provide matching musical accompaniment to words that described a full range from humor, to satire, and themes that rarely make it into popular music, such as death and human tragedy. I can cite, for example, his technically unusual performance of two songs on which we collaborated: one about suicide bombers entitled Straight Into Fire. The other, a song about the seven children blown to pieces in front of my wife’s house in Viet Nam. We are never fully aware of the effects of war or climate change until the violence begins to come to home. This latter title, I Hope Life Never Ends, proved to be an ironic one on several levels, given the early and untimely death of this fine young artist.
His personal integrity ranged from stopping to pay the bridge toll for the car behind him as well as being true to his music instead of selling out to the corporate world:
They’re not buying you, they’re not selling me.
His music and lyrics spanned the full spectrum of human interests and emotions. He had a persistent sense of humor and loved a good musical joke, as in We Need a Shrink for President and “I’m trying to be an outlaw, but I’m WANTED back at home,” and “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”
His enthusiasm for songwriting came out of his own emotions and went into songs and
performances that touched the soul and mesmerized audiences from San Francisco to Paris, Chicago, Portland and Seattle, Nashville, and back again.
Travis left us due to illness at the age of 41, but he lives on in some of the most unforgettable songs I’ve ever heard.
For further information about Travis and his music please visit www.reverbnation.com/travisdow
*If you like his music sampled here, please contribute to the Travis McKinley Dow Memorial Scholarship Fund which is awarded yearly to a talented but needy young artist at Travis’ alma mater, Humboldt State University (Humboldt Area Foundation). You may also make a donation at http://www.hafoundation.org/Giving/Make-a-Gift-Today/Give-Now (Type in Travis McKinley Dow)