Travis Rush Tickets
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For some people making music seems as natural as breathing. It occupies so much of their heart and mind; it just seems to spill out no matter the location or circumstance. Perhaps that explains why country newcomer Travis Rush can’t pass an unattended piano without stopping to play. “My family and friends would always laugh because no matter where we went throughout my life, if we walked by a piano, I had to stop,” the Oregon native confesses. “It didn’t matter if it was in the middle of a bar, the middle of a hotel or in the middle of a mall, if I could open it, I would play it and I would just start singing. Not too long ago in Portland, I was walking down the sidewalk and they had set up this piano outside. It was a baby grand just sitting out there and nobody was playing it. So I just went over, sat down and started playing and singing.” Before he knew it, Rush had attracted a crowd, which is something the young entertainer has been doing for most of his life. Growing up in the tiny hamlet of Gold Beach, Oregon, he always had a deep love of music, fueled by listening to his father’s record collection. “He turned me on to Glen Campbell, John Denver and Diamond Rio. I listened to those guys and the Eagles,” Rush recalls. “Being in such a small town, we just didn’t have radio and we didn’t have cable television until I was probably twelve or fourteen-years-old so I wasn’t exposed to a lot. It was only whatever my dad happened to have in his record collection.” As he developed his skills on the keyboard, he began soaking up the music of piano-driven singer/songwriters such as Billy Joel and Elton John, and he started writing his own songs at fifteen. After piecing together a make-shift studio, he began recording some of his self-penned music. He found an outlet for his musical energy when he was recruited by Up With People, a cast of young musicians with an international fan base. Joining the group right out of high school, Rush spent the next year performing more than two-hundred concerts in thirteen countries. The opportunity not only helped polish his music skills, but also taught him important lessons about the music business and gave him a well-rounded education in all aspects of touring. “The cool thing about the Up With People experience was not only did I get to work on my stage presence and get comfortable being on stage, but I also learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes,” says Rush. “In addition to singing, they make you do sound and lighting set up. We did everything from packing the trucks to public relations. “I gained a huge respect for the people involved with the stage set up,” he says, “spending the morning running cables, putting up the lights, and setting up the sound and then having to take it all back down at the end of the night can make for a long day, but it was fun. I actually enjoyed it and still try to help out, but my stage manager always gets mad at me. He usually gets stressed out and says, ‘You need to play the piano. Don’t mess up your hands!’” After leaving the group, Rush spent time in Los Angeles chasing his music career dreams, but after nearly two years, decided the massive metropolis just wasn’t for him. So he returned to Oregon and decided to merge his entrepreneurial skills with his musical ambitions. He and a college friend opened a lakeside restaurant, which attracted a clientele that was as enthusiastic about his performances as they were about the menu. “It was fun,” he says. “People would come in and regulars would say ‘Hey, when is Travis going to play?’ It was cool.” The fun ended when a flood destroyed the restaurant. They valiantly reopened for a short time, but the business struggled and ultimately the decision was made to close the doors. Though he’s always had the soul of a poet and the hands of a piano master, Rush also has a good head for business. He launched a lucrative Internet company and embarked on a successful new venture, while continuing to pursue his musical passion. “There’s this thing in the back of your mind and in your gut and in your heart and I just can not get rid of it,” he says with a smile and a sigh of resignation. “It doesn’t matter what anybody throws at me in my life, that desire to make music is always there and I can’t walk away. When I opened that restaurant, I was eyeing that bar saying ‘I want to put a piano there.’ Even when I was starting the Internet company, the end goal has always been my music.” In 2006, he gained attention with his debut Come and Get It, filled with the kind of slice-of-life country anthems that have always connected with his live audiences. He garnered impressive reviews from critics and enthusiastic response from a growing legion of fans. The album featured the compelling ballad “Just for Tonight,” which was buoyed by a video directed by indie film director Matthew Harrison, a Martin Scorsese protégé. Filmed in Portland along the banks of the Willamette River, the clip helped establish Rush as a country newcomer to watch. Most recently, Rush has been in Nashville working on his sophomore project, set for release in 2009 on Mason Records. A blend of his self-penned tunes as well as songs from some of Music City’s most notable writers, the project reverberates with the honest emotion and lyrical depth fans have come to expect from the young singer/songwriter. “My feeling about an album is that it should cover a multitude of topics and emotions so that you have something on there for everyone,” Rush says of the project, which he’s co-producing with Roger Eaton and Jim Henson. “These are songs that mean something to me because they are experiences that I have had and I think they’ll resonate strongly with other people as well.” Though some new artists might rush to move to Tennessee, he feels maintaining his Oregon roots infuses his music with a distinctly different flavor. “When you hear the music, it’s obvious I’m not from this area. Being from the Northwest I don’t sound the same. I have a different voice. There’s no southern drawl at all,” he says with a grin. “When I sing, it doesn’t sound the same and yet I am still country. I’m hoping to bring a unique sound to the market that people haven’t yet heard. I want to be the guy that will make the Northwest proud.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.