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Don’t expect Any Less Anymore from Hunter country star Travis Collins

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Even with his ninth studio album dropping this month, Hunter country star Travis Collins admits he still has much to learn in the music game.

It’s a remarkable confession from a man who’s won countless accolades, including the CMAA Male Artist of the Year (three times), Golden Guitars and the CMA Global Artist Award, and toured alongside US megastars Tim McGraw and Luke Combs.

But, you don’t really expect anything less from the humble 38-year-old.

Hunter country music star Travis Collins.

Collins, who has a unique gift of piloting both sophisticated heartfelt ballads and super-charged country-rock floor-fillers, burst onto the scene in 2005 with Start the Car.

His fourth offering Wired (2015) reached No.1 on the ARIA Country Albums Chart and produced hits Boots On and Curves, while his follow-up record Hard Light (2016) peaked at No.2 on the ARIA Country Albums Chart.

He was awarded the CMC Male Artist of the Year for 2017 and 2018 and swept the CMAA Awards in 2017 on the back of Hard Light, which saw him take home Golden Guitars for Male Vocalist of the Year, APRA AMCOS Song of the Year and Single of the Year. 

It also netted Collins three No.1 singles including the stirring Call Me Crazy.

Our Backyard (2017) with Amber Lawrence secured a further three Golden Guitar wins and Brave & The Broken (2018) received an ARIA Award nomination for Best Country Album.

In 2020, Wreck Me snared the No.1 spot on the ARIA Country Albums Chart, debuting in the Top 10 of the ARIA Albums Chart, and landing at No.4 on the iTunes Australian Albums Chart. 

It landed him his second ARIA Awards nomination for Best Country Album, too.

Travis Collins’ latest offering, Any Less Anymore.

Now, he’s ready to unleash Any Less Anymore, through ABC Music, on Friday 16 June – the same date as his upcoming gig at the Wallsend Diggers.

“I think each album has been a continuation of learning from the previous record,” Collins said.

“This one though, the massive different identifier was, obviously, the pandemic experience.

“For the first time in my life, it took away my career and what I did for a living.

“And, for two years, I sat on the sidelines twiddling my thumbs and going ‘who am I now?’ and ‘what am I without all that?’

“So, a lot of those questions came up for the first time in my life.

“I realised it was maybe a chance to consider other interests while in the downtime.

“I started looking at my role as a husband, a family member, a son, a brother, a neighbour and a friend… the real stuff.

“Who was I to them and who am I to my community?

“So, I had the opportunity to deep-dive into there – and become better with those things.

“It definitely made Any Less Anymore more personal.”

However, there was more to embrace during that period as well.

“My wife and I fell pregnant with our first child (Ava),” Collins said.

“Our family unit went from two to three.

“So, the blinders came off and suddenly life gets lived on a different bandwidth.

“A lot of that stuff was thrown into this record.

“There’s plenty of self-growth and self-evaluation, I guess.

“In hindsight, I’m so grateful for that period, even though I didn’t think that back then.

“But, it gave me a chance to recalibrate.

“And, I believe we’re coming out of it [pandemic] better than we went into it.”

Travis Collins. Photo: Jake Davey

Working with Stuart Stuart (Shepard, The Veronicas, Lee Kernaghan), Collins collaborated with songwriters from around the globe including The Wolfe Brothers and Lindsay Ell.

The album features the singles One Of Them Nights, Just The Way and recently-released Any Less Anymore.

“Quite simply, the record is about making the most of each day, learning to appreciate yourself, family and the moment,” he said.

“Mostly, it’s about growing up, discovering who you are and, dare I admit, maybe even becoming mature.

“For the first time in my adult life, I had to learn ‘be still’. Calm. In one place.

“Which was tough for a guy whose wife calls him Jet Stream.

“Turns out it was the reset and break I didn’t even know I needed. Physically, mentally, emotionally.”

Travis Collins. Photo: Jake Davey

Collins is keen to make the most of his newfound vim, with his latest tour kick-starting from Wallsend.

“You know what’s exciting?” he said.

“Putting 20 dates together and not having to worry about which ones are going to get rescheduled… or which ones will be cancelled, asking fans to hang onto their tickets.

“I really hope, touch wood, those days are now gone… because we had to ride through some absolute crap.

“It’s great to have an album that the process of making wasn’t interrupted, too.

“Even better, we have a tour that hasn’t been disrupted.

“So, we’re ready to go… and back in love and appreciation for our career.

“We’re not taking anything for granted.

“I believe it will be a really energetic night [at the Diggers], especially with Any Less Anymore out that day.

“I always find release day gigs to be interesting in the sense that they’ve [audience] heard maybe two or three songs.

“On this occasion, it’s only released 12 hours before the show.

“However, they should know a few songs, which have already come out.

“You can pick the diehards, even on release day, since they’re singing along to track six or seven.

“It’s a really beautiful thing to witness that.

“So, I’m exceptionally glad we’re able to do a release day show in Newcastle.

“It’s a home game for me; I’m stoked about it.”

Travis Collins is keenly-awaiting the release of his latest album, Any Less Anymore.

Collins’ deep affection for the Hunter is certainly evident when you speak to him.

“I’ve been here coming up to 20 years,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“So, I’m not quite local yet – I’m still at blow-in status.

“But, I love it.

“I’m really excited about raising a family in the Hunter.

“Not because I hate where I grew up… country music was part of that landscape.

“And, I just loved the joy it brought people.

“However, here, we’ve got open space and a bit more country way of life.

“It feels like a shoe that just fits.”

Despite his own success, Collins acknowledged he was a bit starstruck meeting country music legends McGraw and Combs.

“They were both super accessible,” he said.

“They’d stand around in the wings of the stage watching us do our support set.

“I had a conversation with Tim backstage at the Deni Ute Muster back in 2019.

“In fact, I thanked him for the opportunity of being on his tour, playing arenas, vineyards and huge stuff like that.

“It was a real thrill because we’d been performing at the pubs and clubs.

“So, to have the chance to experience the big crowds was amazing.

“But, he opened up and, even after all this time and a 30-year decorated career, Tim told me he was still learning how to do things more effectively.

“That’s the real beauty of it.

“Standing there talking to someone who’s won multiple CMA and Grammy Awards and hearing he’s looking for the next thing to learn.

“I really took a lot out of that conversation.”

Collins will also perform at the Cessnock Leagues Club on Saturday 5 August.

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