If spoken by anyone other than Slaton Glover, this reference would surely elicit more questions than answers. But given that he and his cohorts in The Travelin’ Kine hold influences like Kris Kristofferson, David Grisman, and Widespread Panic in equally high esteem, hearing the frontman describe the band’s new music in this way, well, makes sense.
Glover started this project four years ago in Charleston, South Carolina, when he committed himself to writing and playing his songs whenever and wherever possible. In those early days, he was backed by a rotating cast of seasoned musicians from the area, but The Travelin’ Kine came together over time, and the definitive lineup coalesced two years ago when guitarist Scottie Frier and bassist Brent Poulson joined up with Glover, mandolinist David Vaughan, harp player Mark Davis, and drummer Jim Donnelly. Since then, they’ve recorded and released their debut album, Change in the Wind; received a few nods from the Charleston City Paper as the city’s favorite Americana band; and hit the road, developing their live show (which Frier calls their “biggest asset”) on stages across the Southeast with cohorts like Yarn, Drivin n Cryin and Dangermuffin.
These early successes were like flames to a mason jar of moonshine for the band, and Glover took advantage of this momentum when he started writing songs for their as-yet-untitled sophomore album shortly after the release of Change in the Wind. This time, though, the rest of the group joined the process early on, a decision that continues to afford them more opportunities to shape their sound than ever before. If you are looking for The Travelin’ Kine these days, certainly check the bar first, but chances are that you will find them at Donnelly’s Plowground Studios on Johns Island woodshedding these tracks with Josh Roberts of Josh Roberts & the Hinges, who is producing the album (Tim Nielson of Drivin n Cryin is assisting in the production). This new approach is paying off, yielding an album that Poulson calls “a lot more rocking than the last” and comprised of songs Davis says are “relatable across the band.”
Glover’s goal is to arrange and record 16-18 of the 20 plus songs he has written for the album, and from those, release a dozen. For Vaughan, it is all about the quality of the music, and he promises that there won’t be any filler. “This next album will be better,” he says. “I don’t want to be that band. I don’t want to just put music out there for the sake of it.” Once they are happy with the songs, they will decamp to Charleston’s Truphonic Recording Studios to record the album and if all goes well, it will be released in early fall.
So back to that “psychedelic weirdness.” Fans new and old will get a taste of it in a few months when the album is wrapped up and released, but for the time being, the Magic 8 Ball says it’s safe to trust Glover. The Travelin’ Kine aren’t prone to embellishments, and in fact, they’ve proven themselves the kind of straight-shooting troubadours that most would expect to find playing “Red Dirt Americana.” They’ve already signaled a “change in the wind” in their hometown of Charleston, and that breeze is about to blow a lot harder and weirder in the coming weeks and months. That is a guarantee.