On A New Note

On A New Note

McCready kicks off new career at TempleLive concert


Editor’s Note: Since this story was written, Travis McCready’s concert at Temple Live has generated more than a little controversy. The state issued a cease-and-desist order; the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division pulled Temple Live’s liquor license; and the venue is trying to reschedule the show for May 18. Read more at www.nwaonline.com/news/2020/may/14/fort-smith-music-venue-proposes-move-concert/

As the world slowly reopens after quarantining from covid-19, Travis McCready will restart his career. This time, he’ll be a solo artist.

McCready is scheduled to play May 15 in Fort Smith. And he says he’ll be happy if the date at TempleLive is the the first to showcase his new musical style.

McCready sang as the frontman for the band Bishop Gunn, described as a blues Americana rock ‘n’ roll country band rooted in the Mississippi Delta. Its first album, “Nathchez,” released in 2018, was partly produced in the legendary studios of Muscle Shoals, Ala. A music video for the single “Makin’ It” was featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 10 country and Americana songs of February 2019; the band won the Classic Rock magazine poll with the song in the same month; and the band toured Europe that spring. But then band mates went their separate ways.

On his own, McCready starts his writing with poetic development, which gives his songs the clear, rootsy style that’s growing in popularity.

“It is the song in its rarest form,” he says.

“When I would write all the stuff for Bishop Gunn, I would write it acoustic anyway,” McCready continues. “Then someone would just put a kick pedal on it, and we’d rock out.”

McCready as been collecting songs for his new performances — songs the band didn’t release, songs he’s been co-writing in Nashville.

“I guess you could say I’ve got a lot of songs stuffed in my sock drawer,” he says.

McCready doesn’t write a song for its subject matter or purpose. He prefers to write with energy and attitude.

“This is going to sound incredibly self-centered, but I don’t write bad songs,” he says. “If it’s bad, I’ll stop writing it, and you’ll never hear it.”

McCready has spent the past three Nashville years living in a farmhouse about 35 miles outside of town. He hasn’t watched television in about five years. He gets little cell service, and the internet comes nowhere near the house.

But there’s a recording studio — “and a f***ing guitar everywhere,” he says.

While Bishop Gunn was a rock and soul band, McCready likens his solo music to ’70s singer/songwriters Cat Stevens and Bob Seger. Chris Cornell and Otis Redding also bring him inspiration.

McCready grew up in Natchez, Miss., and made a trip home recently during the covid-19 shutdown. He says he visited family “way off in the sticks” that he rarely sees.

“The towns, they’re shut down, but I played some songs for my cousins,” he says. “I nearly always have a guitar in my hand, and I can always find somebody to play with. Or I’m on my couch, jammin’ to records and playing by myself.”



Travis McCready

WHEN — 8 p.m. May 15

WHERE — TempleLive at 200 N. 11th St. in Fort Smith

COST — $20

INFO — fortsmith.templelive.com/





“We are not doing this with a cavalier attitude” Mike Brown, vice president of TempleLive, says of reopening the Fort Smith venue. “We are focused on the safety of our guests, our artists and our staff. This is not a ‘normal’ show but rather the first step toward a normal show. Under the circumstances, normal may not happen for a while. In the meantime, we are doing what we can.”

Precautions for Travis McCready’s May 15 performance include pre- and post-show disinfection, entry temperature screening, continuous antiseptic wipedown of high-touch surfaces, distance seating requirements (which separates groups of guests by six feet or more) and establishing one-way walking paths as recommended by the CDC.

Lance Beaty, president of Beaty Capital Group, which owns the venue, says that the capacity of the venue had been reduced by 80% (from 1,100 to 229 seats) to allow social distancing, that patrons are encouraged to wear masks and that masks will be available for purchase at the venue before the show.

“We have done all of the things that you might expect as well as subtle things as well like providing touchless paper and soap dispensers and modifying our ventilation system to operate with 100% make-up air. Each of these reduces risk to some degree,” Beaty adds.

TempleLive will announce additional concerts going forward “and will make adjustments to concert access, seating procedures and safety protocols as circumstances dictate.”

— What’s Up! Staff Report

Categories: Music