Truett & The Traitors: Music is Always First

Written by Elizabeth Osbern

I always find it interesting to ask musicians/song writers: what comes first, the lyrics or the music?  It seems an age-old question, like what comes first the chicken or the egg?  Seth Truett, from Truett & The Traitors, was instantaneous in his reply to this question. 

     “I’ve got a hundred little demos on my phone of just hooks and if I need a beat I’ll beat box it or whistle it…and then build it from there,” Truett casually states as he sips his C-Street Cooler from Big Mommas.  “I’ve always loved harmonies,” he quickly adds.  You can definitely see how the music drives Truett’s songs.  Whether it is a melodic bass cord or the driving beat of the drums…the music is what makes the song.  “Every single song has a really strong grab ya.  The lyrics, you try to make them as good as you can to fit them in the song, but a lot of times the meaning of the songs come after.” 
     Truett’s journey into the type of music that he found really interested him began when he took a freshmen English course at Missouri State University.  It was here that he was assigned a research paper on The Beatles.  After Truett began researching, he found that what The Beatles considered inspirations like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and The Rolling Stones, he too found to be very inspirational. 

     “I feel a stronger connection to the 60s stuff…it was more honest and truthful,” Truett continues.  However, he would not describe his music as a 60s knockoff, but rather a sound that is inspired by the British style of music.  “I enjoy a lot of British bands just because it is more melodic.  America stuff is more based on riffs and grooves and I like the melodic structure of British music more.”
     After Truett graduated from Missouri State University he decided to move to Austin, Texas and it was here that he completely threw himself into his music.  He began to write many of the songs that appear on his first solo album The Wind is Gone.  However, he soon realized that to just have a band with a group of four guys was not possible. 
     “You have to have like 10 guys that are in your band so that every time you book a show at least three of them will make it. In Austin everyone is in like four different bands.” 
     Even though it was clear that Austin was a great experience, Truett knew that it was not a place that he wanted to stay indefinitely.  He began talking with Lou Whitney, who operates The Studio in Springfield, Missouri, and decided that he would take the songs that he had written, move back to Springfield, put them on an album, find a group of musicians and create a band.

     Oddly enough Truett found his band mates at a Christmas party several years ago.  They began as a five piece, but the lead guitarist decided to leave.  Luckily, the other members of the band are multi-instrumentalist and the drummer at the time, Adam Cochrun, moved to lead guitar and they found another drummer, Rick Gates, to take his place.  The band also consists of a bass player, Chris Greig, and then Truett himself who also plays the guitar. In 2010, Truett & the Traitors recorded their first self-titled album primarily on their own with the help of Jeff Smith from Studio 2100. 
     Before I sat down with Seth I perused their web page in hopes of getting a feel for their music.  I was very pleased to see that I could listen to many full tracks of their music and also be able to read their lyrics.  In no time at all I found my feet to be tapping along with the beat and humming along to the chorus.  I could definitely see how The Beatles had provided an inspiration for their music, however, the indie twist that they put to each song definitely gives them a unique quality.  One of my favorites songs on their album is entitled “Rest.”  I was struck with how different this song was and had to ask Truett what his inspiration was.  Upon answering my question I could tell that he had to think back to what exactly inspired him for this particular song.  He said that he wrote it in Austin and had Bob Dylan in the back of his mind as he began strumming a beat on his guitar.  He wanted the same type of chords throughout the whole song with just the harmonica in the chorus and the lyrics, of course, came after.  How could I forget; for him, the music is always the most important element.  
     Truett & The Traitors have their next show at Lindbergs for the Rhythm and Boom concert series on July 29.  This series is geared toward an older crowd.  It begins at 6:30 and only lasts until 8:30, it is a smoke-free environment with lower volume levels.  It should prove to be a great time and as Seth says, “Every song that we play and write is going to be something that has that element of distinct chorus and easy to remember vocal that you will be humming it when you leave…got to keep it simple.”  After listening to their music I couldn’t help but agree with him and look forward to humming along to their choruses on Friday.

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Copyright 2011, all rights reserved
Photos property of Truett and the Traitors
Copyright 2011, all rights reserved


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