Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio. In honor of September being country music month at Radio.com HQ, country artists will weigh in each week.
One of the biggest-selling country artists of the 1990s, Travis Tritt will never forget the first time he heard his song on the radio. The GRAMMY-winning country star sat down with Radio.com recently while promoting his new album The Calm After…, which dropped July 9, and recalled the first time he heard his debut single “Country Club” on the radio.
Tritt signed his first record deal in 1987, but it was nearly two years before he had a song out.
“It seemed like forever before we finally got that single out,” he admits.
On his way back to Atlanta from a showcase in Nashville in 1989, Tritt and his band were packed into two vans when he heard the DJ introduce “Country Club.”
“We didn’t even have a tour bus at the time,” he said. “My drummer would drive one van and I drove the other. We were coming out of Nashville and we were almost to the point where the radio station was almost completely faded away and we heard the disc jockey say, ‘Coming up next is a song from a brand new artist named Travis Tritt. The song’s called ‘Country Club.’ We’ll play that next.'”
Overjoyed, Tritt immediately made his band pull off to the side of the road.
“[We] sat and waited for it to come on because we knew if we had gone any further we were going to lose the station,” he said. “There was just something about that moment. It was almost surreal to have finally realized that all those years of hard work and now you’ve finally got a song on the radio. It’s unbelievable.”
The title track off his debut album, the song went to No. 9 on the Hot Country Singles chart. The album, Country Club, went on to be certified platinum and helped garner Tritt the Top New Male Artist award from Billboard in 1990.
While Tritt has gone on to hear many of his songs on the radio, he said it’s thrilling each time.
“Every time you hear a new single on the radio or hear it being played some place, it’s the same exciting feeling,” he said. “It’s like a feeling of what you’ve always wanted to do, reaching that accomplishment level. It’s pretty exciting.”