Saturday, 7 January 2012

Artist Spotlight - Travellin Rose

New To You....Travellin Rose

Links shown in RED

Travellin Rose Photoshoot
Courtesy Travellin Rose Website

A hot new female duo has burst onto the British Country music scene called TRAVELLIN ROSE. Their first single “Made Up My Mind,” debuted on the Hotdisc Top 40 chart on December 11, 2011 at # 2 and on Dec 18th they topped the Hotdisc British and Irish chart where they have remained so far for 3 weeks. In so doing they have been giving Forbes # 1 listed artist Toby Keith and his viral sensation hit Red Solo Cup a run for its money.

Travellin Rose are comprised of Romany gypsy ladies Kelly Lee (formerly a solo artist) and Talia Smith and were brought together by mutual friend Mike Maslen of Halo Records. Kelly and Talia got on great from the get-go and have quickly created a catalogue of songs and aptly named their act Travellin Rose and hence they were born. The fun duo laugh when they describe themselves:  Trailer Trash'......but in a good way' they add “. They live in trailers, drive pickup trucks, and immerse themselves in country music – “We have been called walking talking stereotypes...but we are proud to be so, and all of our songs are written from this perspective because that's what we are”.  They write sassy lyrics with bags of attitude, and these self proclaimed ‘trailer trash’ girls have brains, beauty and the talent in ample supply to back it up.
Keen to kick up the dust and head out on the country roads what better place for this gorgeous duo to visit than Music City USA!  

Talia Smith (left) and Kelly Lee (right)
Travellin Rose (Facebook promo shot)

In early November they were invited to join an International Country Music party of country acts by Lee Williams the head of Internet country station CMR Nashville. Along with acts Pete Kennedy from Ireland, Brazilian country music singer Rodrigo Haddad the UK’s very own The Hayley Oliver Band and now Nashville based Emma King and the Heartsets they performed at a high profile pre CMA Award show event at The Cadillac Ranch in Nashville. Video footage of Travellin Rose can be seen in clips that were broadcast on the programme Inside Music Row shown on Showcase TV (see video)  Whilst in Nashville they made the most of their trip cutting five tracks for their debut album, with Mark Moseley at Sound Control Studio & Catch This Music on Music Row. They plan to return in the early part of 2012 to complete their album project with hopefully an album due to drop in the Spring.

About Kelly Lee
25-year old Kelly, a mother of two is no stranger to the UK Country scene. Her fantastic single “Stay” was # 1 for 3 weeks (July 17, 2008 - Aug 7, 2008) on the British & Irish Hotdisc chart  When she was a little girl she listened over and over to her favourite Patsy Cline tape from her parent’s collection and would sing along. Kelly has loved country music for as long as she can remember enjoying and drawn to the music of Patsy, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Charlie Pride, and in later years The Judds and Reba McEntire. At 14 singing Patsy Cline’s ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ at a karaoke show encouraged by the positive reaction from family and audience she contacted a highly respected manager who subsequently put her in contact with band Struck It Rich doing guest spots in clubs when she was fifteen.
In 2001 Kelly also contributed a monthly page called Kelly's Eye, in the magazine Country Music International, which included reviewing albums and writing features and shining the spotlight on British and International acts (see press cutting). In June 2005 Kelly recorded a fourteen track country covers album, with Steve Rowland producing. While she was recording, Mike Maslen who is the owner of London based Indie label Halo Records, came to see her. He loved what he heard and started working and signed her to Halo in November 2007. Kelly recorded eight of the ten tracks on her debut album, I CAN DREAM...ENGLAND 10 TITANS 0, with four of the former members of International Southern Rock band, Medicine Hat. With tightening financial label constraints for future projects and Kelly wishing to take time out to raise a family she then took a break.

About Talia Smith.
Talia is a mother who spent many years writing poetry and when she was aged 16 she started tapping into country music and became a big fan of the genre. In 2010, Talia singing country music, decided to enter an open mic competition and despite being amongst thousands of aspiring entrants reached the finals. Mike Maslen of Halo records spotted her talent who then introduced her to Kelly.

Travellin Rose Interview
Anxious to find out more about Travellin Rose,  their trip to Nashville and forthcoming album CountryRoutesNews Blog (i.e. this mush) was afforded the privilege to conduct this interview with Talia and Kelly.
Travellin Rose Logo (Courtesy Facebook Page)

How did Travellin Rose materialize, how did you meet one another?

Talia was contacted by Kelly’s old record company by some clips that she had posted on YouTube, after the initial meeting and she expressed her love of writing her own songs Mike suggested a meet for both of us to do a few co-writes, and since then we have not looked back, after months of writing we didn’t know what to do with the songs we had created as a writing duo, did not fit either of us as individuals, they were 'different' so the only other logical thing for us to do was to create a duo to showcase all of our songs.....and Travellin Rose was born.

Where are Travellin' Rose based?

We are both based around the London area, Kelly north (near Hatfield), and Talia down south (near Heathrow), but not to far that a little trip down (or up) the M25 can’t reunite us within about 30 minutes! lol

Talia, I'm aware of Kelly's album from 2008 and her fantastic single "Stay". What is your background in music? Have you made a record?

hmmmm now I have humbler beginnings, I spent most of my years writing and preferred to stay behind the scenes, but in a vain attempt to meet like minded people I joined an open mic competition, it didn’t help me with the whole writing side of things, but I progressed to the semi-final stages, and due to pictures and clips from the comp Mike new how to contact me, and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that’s how Kelly and I were introduced....but that’s how I started out, so its only the beginning for me.

How would you describe the sound of Travellin' Rose?

Now this is a difficult one....we have tried to sum this up ourselves with great difficulty. We are forever evolving, and due to our
different preferences as solo artists, Kelly being more country rock, and me writing more country pop ballads, the combination of the 2 different tastes has created its own little take on country combining a bit of everything. Our songs can range from a bit of
rock/blues/traditional/bluegrass/ a bit of everything is probably the sane answer to your question lol

As you are both young mothers with very young children how are you able to balance that as well as getting involved in the music scene?

FAMILY!!!!!!! we rely hugely on the support from the families that we are blessed to have, we couldn’t do this without them as the kids themselves are a full time job, with Kelly's 2 and Talia's 3 our writing sessions can be lively to say the least, but we do thrive on chaos, but we have all the help we could wish for on tap for rehearsals/gigs and trips to Nashville.
Talia - Was your recent visit to Nashville your first one?

Yes it was....and wow what a lovely trip it was, I can’t wait to go back, hopefully again and again...and again, I am hooked. We were lucky enough to experience the CMA Awards and the Christmas shows. We were kept extremely busy, which we didn’t mind it help us from feeling homesick and along with the recording of some of our songs for the album, it was a manic week, but we did manage to do a little sightseeing and we visited The Ryman which was amazing, ......I didn’t want to leave.......

Looking at your Facebook pages it appears as though you played 2 gigs in Nashville?
Thanks to CMR Nashville we were invited to appear on 2 gigs in Nashville, the first was at Nashville Palace (see photo) where the legendary Randy Travis was discovered, along side the likes of Hayley Oliver, and the second was at The Cadillac Ranch (see photo) a larger show where we met Emma King and the Heartsets along with many other great acts.

What was experience like playing in Nashville at The Cadillac Ranch? Did you have musicians supporting you on stage?

It was brilliant, we both felt very humble and blessed to have been invited to do an acoustic set, we were very lucky to have on stage with us the very talented Mark Moseley who was also our producer on the album who was 'born into mosrite guitar legacy'
a very talented and charming man. (
Mosrite is an American guitar manufacturing company, originally based in Bakersfield, California in 1952, the same year as Fender started) - See photo of Mark with Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.

How did the American audiences react to the British acts playing there?

They were lovely, very welcoming and complimentary to all of the International acts, offering all the support and best wishes that they could give. I mean its not every day that you get a member of The Mavericks find you after your set and congratulate you and sing your praises, it was quite surreal!

How many songs have you recorded in Nashville and was all the mixing done there too?

We recorded 5 of the tracks in Nashville in November....”Made Up My Mind”, “VIP room”, “Girl From The Backwoods”, “Givin' Up” and “I Am What I Am” . All recording and mixing was done at Sound Control Studios with Mark Moseley on Music Row, and we plan to return ASAP to finish the album.

How many tracks do you intend to put on the album?

Well we thought 30 tracks would be a little to many so we have managed to cut them down to 12, although it was the hardest thing for us to decide on as a duo!  lol

Will the album have different styles?

Yes, yes , yes .....we have a bit of everything. We have tried to mix up the pace and have tried to include a variety of tempos, moods, and country styles, I think we have a little for everyone, well we hope so.

Will all the songs be original ones or do you intend to cut a cover to introduce yourselves to listeners and radio programmers with something they are familiar with?

All 12 are either written by Travellin Rose, or by Talia or Kelly, we had so many songs of our own to choose from we couldn’t fit any more in.......but  we do have a few covers on various internet sites that we control which we hope to add to soon. Our set lists for gigs have a lot of covers so hopefully that should help people to have a more informed decision of us...originals from the album and an array of covers for free on the internet  : )

Mix of up-tempo and ballads? Which do you prefer?

We have made sure there is an equal mix of tempos on the album, we both love to perform up-tempo fun songs, but we tend to have the habit of writing slow heart wrenching ballads.

What do you hope to achieve with the album?

For Travellin Rose in general, we hope to help the many others before us to try and raise the profile of British Country music, firstly within the UK and hopefully internationally. In the UK we are blessed with some amazing acts, that need recognition, for the amazing things that they are doing and achieving, and we hope to help in any way we can.
As for the album, we hope for at least one person to buy it (apart from my Nan that is) and for them to like it. I know that may sound silly, but we both have put so much of each of us into each song, and we use music as a healing tool, different songs can mean so much to so many different people, and our little dream is that someone might find comfort in our songs....I mean it would be nice if everyone loved it but you can’t please everyone all the time. So if we aim to help people as individuals and if others like it too, then we will be more then happy

Will you make any tracks available as digital singles?

Hopefully!!! We are waiting on iTunes for digital release of our singles, “Made Up My Mind”, followed by “VIP room”, and as soon as it is available I will let you all know.

What inspires you to write songs?
Life......all of our songs have been written by our individual experiences or have been formed by the way we live and the people
around us, we both live in trailers and have a different outlook compared to most and this does come out in a few of our songs, ('I Am What I Am' and 'Girl From The Backwoods') so we don’t write what is expected of two young (well kind of young) women. We write as mothers, women, our families, working class backgrounds, and the gypsy lifestyle and of course our love of country music.

What music are you currently listening to?

Well at the moment thanks to many good recommendations our musical interests have broadened, from the classics that we love from Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Hank and Johnny Cash to our modern loves as Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson and The Dixie Chicks to mention a few and to the different sounds of Hank Williams III, Dale Watson and skiffle acts that are emerging from the UK at the moment. We are constantly on the look out to find new artists to quench our everlasting thirst, so our listening preferences change often.

Do you have any favourite country songs and were there any that inspired you to be country music artists?
Talia - Well mine wasn’t so much a song but an album Coalminer Daughter by Loretta Lynn, and So Lonesome I Could Cry ( Hank Williams) these songs were the first songs that I felt I connected with, and they are firmly planted onto the iPod playlist, which is played daily.

If invited onto CMT Crossroads (which pairs country artists with someone from another genre) who would you pick to form a super group?
ooooohhhhhhh Queen?? Rod Stewart?? George Michael??...If we could resurrect the dead I think we would love to write with the amazing...albeit troubled Amy Winehouse, but if they would not allow any hell raising on their show, I think another amazingly talented lyricist is Eminem, or UB40...ooh now that would be you can probably tell we are very indecisive!

Source - Email Communication with Travellin Rose December 2011

CountryRoutes Blog wishes to thank Travellin Rose for taking precious time out to answer the questions and that 2012 will bring them every success with their music. Let’s hope they make lots of Vonga of their travels.
Country Routes Magazine has them as their stunning cover feature in the January 2012 issue on sale now. The gypsy gals along with their support band will play their first gig in northern England on March 10th at Birtley RAOB.

To find out more and how obtain their music check out:

Travellin Rose in the studio singing “More Like Her” a Miranda Lambert classic - YouTube


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