Travis Tritt ranks among the most respected modern practitioners of a tried-and-true sound. He looks to such smooth-voiced hell-raisers as Johnny Cash for lessons in how to sound like a time-tested country music singer. Sprinkle in the rock 'n' roll swagger of a John Mellencamp, and you've got an artist capable of claiming his own piece of honky-tonk history while still sounding relevant to the times.
Like Alan Jackson, Tritt rose from humble hometown beginnings in Georgia to become one of the toasts of Nashville and the country charts. Along the way, Tritt maintained a blue-collar, Southern image that makes him more relatable to fans than the average superstar.
This even dozen exemplifies Travis Tritt songs, with selections ranging from memorable duets to upbeat country anthems that resound with the common working man and woman.
Honorable mentions: "Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man," "Down The Road I Go," "Love of a Woman," "It's All About to Change," "If I Lost You," "Help Me Hold On," "I'm Gonna Be Somebody," "Best of Intentions," "More Than You'll Ever Know," "Can I Trust You With My Heart," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin," "Drift Off To Dream" "Put Some Drive In Your Country," and "Where Corn Don't Grow," "She's Going Home With Me"
12. "Take It Easy"
Nothing brings back an old memory, quite like a classic rock standard. Tritt exposed his music to others who grew up on the songs of the Eagles when he covered one of the band's best country-influenced hits.
11. "Double Trouble" (with Marty Stuart)
Two long-time pals and like-minded performers threw one of the rowdiest Marty Parties caught on tape. The rocking duet from the Restless Kind album forever tied together Tritt and Stuart's musical legacies.
10. "Helping Me Get Over You" (with Lari White)
Another Restless Kind duet showed a different side of Tritt. Alongside singing partner Lari White, he took a shot at mirroring his country music heroes' skill at wringing every last drop of emotion out of a sad, lonesome song.
9. "Outlaws Like Us"
Tritt's statement of purpose came in this ode to past Nashville rebels, featuring guest appearances by Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, Jr. All of these years later, it still works as a fair critique of mainstream country radio.
8. "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde"
By cutting back on the Southern rock organ and turning up the country singer storytelling charm, Tritt somehow sounds even more like the modern-day sonic child of Ray Price and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
7. "Foolish Pride"
Tritt performed more than just high-octane country songs. He also successfully tried his hands at more sentimental songs over the years, as exemplified by this mid-tempo number one hit.
6. "Bible Belt" (feat. Little Feat)
It's hard to imagine Tritt's rocking live show and upbeat honky-tonk singles without the influence of Southern rock. Here he pairs with West Coast roots-rockers Little Feat for a tongue-in-cheek nod to Tritt's Christian upbringing.
5. "It's a Great Day to Be Alive"
Tritt's best 21st-century offering offers a pick-me-up on both sunny and cloudy days. In the wrong singer's hands, it might be too sentimental, but Tritt's down-home image and drawl make it work.
4. "Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof"
This title track from Tritt's 1994 album takes a different approach to ballroom sing-alongs. It admits that some drunken bravado results from unfortunate cases of liquid courage.
3. "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)"
Tritt captures the defiant and downright snarky spirit usually wielded by country music's leading ladies on one of his best-known singles. He pulls this off with a chorus; the kids might call a "sick burn."
2. "Country Club"
A traditionalist movement started by the likes of Randy Travis and Ricky Skaggs kept going strong with this 1990 cut. Even fans without historic reference points were charmed by this one and the classic line about Dixie cups.
It's hard to argue that Tritt's signature song shouldn't top any list of his greatest hits. Without his trademark spelling of "here comes bad news," these other great songs would lack such a huge global audience.