Travis Book Takes On A Rollercoaster Of Emotions With “Afraid Of Love”

[Cover photo credit to Seyl Park]

Travis Book, bassist and vocalist of Grammy Award-winning bluegrass ensemble The Infamous Stringdusters, is gearing up for the release of his solo album, Love and Other Strange Emotions. Set to be released via Americana Vibes on October 27, 2023, this album moves from Book’s acoustic and Bluegrass roots into Americana and Rock music.

The album’s second single “Afraid of Love” is out now to add to the “rollercoaster of emotional states” expressed on this new collection. The new single is about “making sense out of falling in love unexpectedly.”

He shares:

When I wrote ‘Afraid of Love’ I was falling in love. It came as a surprise and I was scared that I wasn’t ready, that I hadn’t worked on myself and experienced the growth that I thought I needed to do. I got this melody in my head playing electric guitar one night and kinda thought about what a couple of my favorite songwriters would do.  

The journey to Travis Book’s solo album began unexpectedly when he invited his friends Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Mike Ashworth (Jon Stickley Trio, Steep Canyon Rangers), and Tommy Maher (Fireside Collective) for a casual collaboration during one of his weekly gigs. After their third performance together, Book realized that this ensemble was destined for something special.  

Travis Book delved into his extensive catalog of original compositions, re-recording some previously done with The Infamous Stringdusters and reimagining others that had yet to find a place. Even songs from his earliest work found a new home.

Reflecting on the album, Book shares:

I made this record because it was time. I’d been writing, performing, and recording music for over 20 years and had yet to make a statement that was purely my own. The previous three years I’d cultivated a weekly gig and played with everyone I could, in every style I could. From some of those sessions emerged a theme and an aesthetic for a grand gesture in the form of an album. It had emerged organically when I asked myself, “If you could do whatever you wanted, what would it be? And if you could sing about whatever you wanted, what would you sing about?  

I’d play a jet-black Gibson ES 135 and front a band of the best musicians in town. I’d sing songs I’d written about love and other (strange) emotions. I’d follow my heart and my instinct with very little compromise, and I’d do it for the love, the challenge, and as an offering to myself and the universe. 

In addition to his musical endeavors, Book has been creating the podcast The Travis Book Happy Hour.

The podcast focuses on musical collaboration and conversations around the complexities of being human. The Travis Book Happy Hour features interviews and live music recorded in Brevard, NC, and is presented by Americana Vibes and The Bluegrass Situation with notable guests including Lindsay Lou, Nicki Bluhm, Anders Beck, John Stickley, The Lil Smokies, and more.