Travis Shaw – Refuge
Travis Shaw paints with a whole palette of colors on the emotionally intense “Refuge”. A symphonic take on folk and pop, he is in good company with the likes of Bon Iver. Similar to Iver’s work, Shaw too features an incredible experience allowing the entirety of the song to simply wash over the listener in a big bountiful wave. Everyone works for this, from the intensity of the drummer whose pounding at times recalls that of a heartbeat to the sheer swath of guitars that rush up, cresting in a way that feels so stunning to behold. Best of all, Shaw’s voice is featured prominently in the mix and his range proves to be the very soul of the entire work.
Graceful guitar gestures introduce the piece, unfurling to give the work a force of nature quality to it. The lyrics only drive this point home for they celebrate wide open spaces in a way that is respectful and awe-struck. When they let the thing break down it feels earned, as if they had always been moving to this very point. Volume is a must for this is a song that needs to be felt as well as heard. Cycles of the sound further add to this sense of luxury, for the many layers intermingle in a way that becomes truly phenomenal to experience. Usage of such a wide variety of instrumentation only adds to this sweeping grandeur.
“Refuge” shows off Travis Shaw’s undeniable skill as a singer-songwriter of the highest caliber.