Caleb Travers
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Caleb Travers

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Best Country Band (Alternative) 2007"

His Ryan Adams jones shows, but so do his good nature, ambition and talent. Travers is pushing all of 25 and his band, including veteran pedal-steel whiz Scott Swartz of the Linemen, is pushing this son of south city toward more than just Telecaster strumming and dirt-road divining. His band can play it Stonesy, Byrdsy and Whiskeytowny without ever sounding dated or in denial over how much room they have for growth. Travers sings with wiry strength, with an inviting slur and unfaked Midwestern drawl, and his songs get their hooks in, indirectly echoing pure country-rock, whether from the Eagles or Buffalo Springfield. Travers and band are currently finishing up their first EP. It promises to be the twang fix a flagging alt-country scene needs. - River Front Times

"St. Louis, MO Live Show Feature"

The list of influences on Caleb Travers & Big City Lights' MySpace page stretches from the obvious alt-country heroes (Patsy Cline, Dylan, the Band) to some less-obvious picks (Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye). Still, the band's straight-shooting, tear-stained rock & roll rests on the lachrymose depths of Travers' flickering tenor voice. - River Front Times

"Unified Ethos"

Age really shouldn't factor into it. If the music's good, it's good, never mind how young or old the person who makes it is.

But this industry is all about youth, and that's something Caleb Travers has on his side.

Which, ironically, is the last thing you expect. The music Caleb makes is richly woven and carefully considered, timeless, really. It's alt-country (no getting around that moniker with the plaintive wail of pedal steel), but it's also rock and indie and singer-songwriter. Like I said, timeless. It manages to sound wholly comfortable, well-worn, familiar and fresh, all at the same time.

At first listen, you're likely to stop whatever it is that you're doing and listen, you know, really listen. This is a guy who's got something to say; Caleb & Co. are well worth your four or seven or 52 minutes. But be warned: Once you've given your time, you'll want to give it again, and again.

In February, Caleb Travers & Big City Lights will triumphantly release their debut CD, Blue Weathered Dreams. When you pick up a copy and give it a spin, you'll get the impression Caleb channeled ancestors and folksters alike, and you may be right. Take this little-known fact: prior to 2004, Caleb had never written a song. Or this one: Until just before that time, the music he listened to was largely rock-based: grunge, post-grunge, and metal.

"I just randomly sat down and wrote a song after I started dating my now-wife," recalls Caleb. "It was a two-step country song, an acoustic, sort of scary-sounding, cryptic, yet really acoustic, rootsy thing. I didn't know where it came from but it felt really, really right."

As Caleb followed his muse, it soon became time for him to form a band, unbelievably, his first. Enter Scott Swartz, he of Linemen fame and pedal steel prowess. "I put up a random ad on the Internet," Caleb says. "'Does there happen to be anyone out there who plays pedal steel?' I'd been told there are so few players out there. Sure enough, Scott got in touch with me." What began as a recording collaboration soon led to a permanent partnership. Producer Chris Hughes came on board, playing drums at the early gigs and also engineering the recording at Sawhorse Studios, and Blue Weathered Dreams began to take shape.

With and without a band, Caleb was simultaneously building a healthy local following, playing alongside touring nationals and holding down regular gigs around town. "People can get looked at funny if they have professional aspirations," admits Caleb. "There's just not a lot of infrastructure here: record labels, booking agencies, paying venues. You just have to do a little more work to get noticed, treat it like a business, follow up with people; that's all I've done. Handshakes, smiles, follow up."

But all the business sense in the world isn't enough if the talent isn't there. And now that Caleb's tapped into his muse, he shows no sign of stopping. "I had to take time to dream again," he explains. "It's been a journey to realize I'm gonna have to work really hard to stay in a place where I can dream every day, sit down and write songs and just kind of be there. I was always that kid drawing, reading about Renaissance artists, making sculptures, having art shows that I would show my parents and somehow that got lost. Now it's come full circle; songwriting keeps that part of me alive."

Caleb Travers & Big City Lights officially release Blue Weathered Dreams with a CD release show Sat., Feb. 9 at Off Broadway. Joining them on the bill are The Feed and Via Dove. - STL Sound

"Review of Blue Weathered Dreams - Feb. 2008"

These songs ache with the seriousness of a singer who sees darkness on every horizon, from the unbreakable bonds of family to the search for redemption... they are worth a listen if only to hear Travers beautiful tenor voice; it's a standout among local singers in any genre.

By Christian Schaeffer - River Front Times

"Roots Arrival"

Caleb Travers & Big City Lights are set to release their debut CD, “Blue Weathered Dreams,” this Saturday at the Off Broadway.

Travers, who has been paying his dues in local clubs for the past few years, has a low, of-the-earth type voice. The tracks are marked by moaning harmonica and wailing steel guitar work by veteran pedal-steel player, Scott Swartz. It’s a well-produced, genuine alt-country effort that evokes rural travels, family hardships and perseverance.

I caught up with Travers after his band did an ‘in studio’ at KDHX on Roy Kasten’s show. He has been hit with the flu this week, just as he is set to release the album.

RC: How did the radio set go?

CT: We did O.K. It was a miracle I was able to get out of bed. We chose songs that were lower on the register so my voice could handle it.

RC: Where are you from?

CT: I was born in Cookville, Tenn. Then we moved to Tucson, then Paducah, where I spent most of my childhood. I came here six years ago when I was 20.

RC: Was your family musical?

CT: My dad was a very serious jazz drummer and a music major at SEMO in Cape Girardeau. After he met my mom, they got involved with traveling in a Pentecostal, charismatic, spirit-filled 1970s type of thing. They would travel a lot playing music in evangelical revivals.

RC: Do your childhood experiences play into your music?

CT: The song “Annie” is autobiographical, though my father wasn’t that much of an ass. The song was re-written four or five times. It’s about dreams in general. My parents wanted to live idealistically. They believed in a religion and a way of life and they were going to turn out a certain way. It was terrifying for me to be in my twenties and realizing that my parents are drastically different and it got me thinking, how much different am I going to be decades from now? So a lot of my songs are about dreams and aspirations. Some of the songs also draw from the married life. I got married a few years ago and Jeff Tweedy’s (Wilco) career has always been a big encouragement for me as a married songwriter. It’s an interesting shift from being single and always having new material to write about. Now it’s more of a slow burn. Tweedy has always been a good model, showing that it can be done.

RC: You came to roots music later, correct?

CT: In college I listened to post-grunge and some metal. Some cryptic stuff like Nine Inch Nails. When I first heard it, I could see the downward spiral and I didn’t know what to do with it! It was alarming and frightening but gripping at the same time. So now I try to write music that is dark and dramatic but also gets at a timeless quality.

By Matt Fernandes - Rock Candy

"Columbia, MO Live Show Feature"

Like Seattle and grunge or Manchester and post-punk, Missouri and alt-country belong together. Ever since the No Depression movement started in the late 1980s, our state has welcomed many of the alt-country’s brightest bands, from Uncle Tupelo to the Bottle Rockets. At 9 p.m. Saturday, one of the genre’s rising stars, St. Louis’ Caleb Travers, brings his pleasant, twang-loaded voice to the Cherry St. Artisan; the show is free.

- Published Thursday, February 14, 2008 - Columbia Tribune

"Review of Blue Weathered Dreams - May 2008"

"With a slow, lonesome strum and slight baritone rasp reminiscent of Beck’s work on the breakup masterpiece Sea Change, Caleb Travers brings perspective to heartbreak and paints spot-on images of a relationship’s forlorn demise. But the stories told on 2007’s Blue Weathered Dreams aren’t the foggy, beer-soaked laments of an idealized, wayward wanderer. Instead Travers’ songs capture the emotion of everyday life without melodrama or pretense -- whether it be through vivid descriptions of family dealings, romantic entanglements or personal struggles."

–Shae Moseley; River Front Times - River Front Times


Blue Weathered Dreams (LP) - Debut Self-Release

Song Listing -

6 o'clock News
Have You Changed
Lay Me Down
American Conversation
Got No Feelin
Brokedown Palaces
Wedding Day

Radio Airplay -

St. Louis, MO - FM 88.1 KDHX streaming live at

Dubuque, IA - KGRR 97.3

College Cities Played -

Columbia, MO (University Of Missouri Columbia)

Edwardsville, IL (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)

Champaign, IL (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Murray, KY (Murray State University)

Ann Arbor (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Dubuque, IA (University of Dubuque)

Honors & Awards -

Best Songwriter
- River Front Times "Best of St. Louis" 2008

Best Singer-Songwriter
- River Front Times Music Awards Nominee 2009



There’s been a sense of expectation surrounding Caleb Travers for some time now. He’s been garnering accolades like “A talent to watch, for sure." from the St. Louis Beacon and " of the genre’s rising stars..." from The Columbia Tribune. He’s also been sharing the stage with the likes of Bobby Bare Jr., The Everybodyfields, Cameron McGill, Ha Ha Tonka, and taking his music across the U.S. to major cities, college towns and everywhere in-between.

Yet the sonorous voice and fully-developed song-craft of Travers’ 2007 record, Blue Weathered Dreams barely betray his 26 years. Getting his start in the tradition-rich St. Louis songwriter scene, he quickly became a favorite with his emotionally charged solo performances and memorable hooks. It wasn’t long until Travers and his band were named best Alt. Country act in St. Louis—all before his first record was even completed.