Born 1963, Marietta
There were probably a total of five houses on Murdock Road, where I grew up, which was two miles long between Sewell Mill Road and Post Oak Tritt Road—named after my grandfather. I didn’t see my first subdivision until I was probably about fourteen, and all of a sudden all of these places that I had hiked and camped and hunted and fished around me started being developed and turned into subdivisions.
Photograph courtesy of Travis Tritt
The parcel where our house was located was a little over forty acres. My dad would plant a garden there: two rows of corn about a hundred yards long, two rows of squash a hundred yards long, two rows of okra a hundred yards long. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper plants, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, green beans, snap peas, English peas, you name it. As a child, I hated it. Every summer all my friends would come up and tell me how they were going to the lake or going to the beach, and guess where I was? I was out working in the fields.
My dad was a self-taught guitar player. When he’d be walking around the house or out working, you could hear him singing or whistling. If it was warm outside, he’d pull up a couple of those old Kmart lounge chairs that had the webbing in them, and my dad would usually have some boiled peanuts and he’d go get some beer for himself and he’d give me some of those six-ounce Coca-Colas in those little green bottles, and we would sit out in the driveway on summer nights and listen to "Grand Ole Opry."
My uncle, Sam Lockhart, was a musician. He played banjo; he played guitar; he played piano. He taught me the first chords I’d ever learned on guitar and took me to my first bluegrass festival. Certainly the only real instruction I ever really got was from him.
We all were members of the Marietta Assembly of God. My mother promised God that if I would be born healthy, she would make sure that I was in church every time the doors were open. It was a blessing because I was exposed to a lot of music and encouraged to perform in church.
I was in a children’s church choir. The lady who was our choir director came up with the idea to sing “Everything Is Beautiful.” We worked on it for several weeks. The children’s choir sang the chorus, but she elected me to do the verses by myself. At our congregation, it was inappropriate to applaud at the end of a performance. But when we performed that song, not only did we get applause out of the congregation, but we got a standing ovation as well, and it was pretty much done for me at that moment. I knew right then I was going to have to pursue some sort of career in music.
—As told to Jackson Reeves
Grammy-winning country star Travis Tritt lives on a seventy-five-acre farm in Hiram. He recently launched his own record label and will release an album in early 2012. In April he will appear in Brother’s Keeper, filmed in Bainbridge.