Ashland Craft's debut album Travelin' Kind blends country storytelling and tradition with the singer-songwriter's rock roots in a way that's reminiscent of the mission statement in Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive in Your Country." Naturally, Craft cites Tritt as a favorite when asked for a song that helped shape her sound, though she picked a musical ray of sunshine from his back catalog over the '90s equivalent of Conway Twitty's "Boogie Grass Band," Linda Hargrove's "Blue Jean Country Queen" and other classics that champion blurring genre lines.
"I'm thinking of Travis Tritt, because I listened to him a lot growing up and his music continues to inspire me," Craft told Wide Open Country. "He's got the raspy tone and he sings with such passion. Hearing his songs - the songwriting and the storytelling behind them - he's definitely somebody that I'd want to embody as an artist. His rendition of 'It's a Great Day to Be Alive' by Darrell Scott is one of my top favorites. From the first day I heard it, that has been a song that makes me so happy.
"Melodically, it's something that I want to try to emulate in a sense - that feeling of just by listening to his vocals, you're already in a better mood," Craft added. "And Travis, he sings with so much emotion and soul, and that is one of the main things that I love to do within my own songwriting and storytelling. That song, in general, is such a positive one for the world to hear. It's a standout to me and thank God he released his own version of it. Just hearing his voice on that track and the feeling he's able to project, it takes over you. It makes you happy and it makes you grateful. I'd love for my music to do that too."
As Craft points out, Darrell Scott wrote "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" and recorded it before Tritt's 2000 rendition cracked the Top 5. Jon Randall cut it first in the '90s, with recent covers including the one on Niko Moon's debut album, Good Time.