Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Second Wind by Travis Koester

Second Wind cover art

Artist: Travis Koester
Title: Second Wind
Catalogue Number: No catalogue number
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

Now here's an interesting proposition. Take a man out of a blues/rockabilly band - in this case, Nebraska's Travis & the Flamekats and what do you get? A singer songwriter called Travis Koester and an album called Second Wind. Not unusual but the laidback but cathartic feel of the album was rather unexpected.

There is no doubting the conviction in Travis Koester's music and it certainly would not be classed as cute pop music. His social conscience is in evidence in "Enough to Get By". This song is set in a small town world from which there is no escape but the army. "Feelin' Down" has an interesting doo wop feel to the arrangement and is rather lighter in tone. True, it's a love song but not a fluffy, sentimental one. More like a proper country one in a George Jones without the pickup truck way.  In contrast, a touch of Chris Isaak is used to season "Only One for Me" and also the up-tempo "The Letter". Whether our Mr Koester is a sensitive soul or not, we cannot say but his voice has a nice tortured feel that suitably expresses his inner torment. "Going Home" brings a mournful, Leonard Cohen feel to the proceedings as he laments that there is "…nothing like a home made meal". It makes you think that family means a lot to him and the wistful regret displayed in "I Wish I Had known" seems to confirm that.

There is warmth and sentimentality to Travis Koester's song writing but many of the songs also suggest a tortured soul. Many of your better songwriters have that kind of feel and their music becomes a means to exorcise their demons. It would seem like that is the case here. So, a welcome addition to your CD collection as everybody needs music for those darker moments in your life.
Review Date: December 13 2007