Husband and wife duo, The Time Burners (Becky and Travis Koester), met playing music in their high school years and have been together ever since. Their love of old music has remained steadfast and continues to blossom as their mature musically. Their new album, The Girl Can Cook, due January 9th, is a perfect blend of rockabilly, classic country, and roots based music. Recently, Travis took the time to answer his Essential 8 (plus) and talk about the album, relay the best advice he ever received, and much more!
Did you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you?
I really didn’t, I learned drums and guitar when I was 14/15 years old by locking myself in my room. I had many people I learned a little from by watching and listening to them.
With "Hillbilly Blues", what was the “a-ha” moment when you knew the song was completed and perfect?
On our new album the song "Hillbilly Blues" I knew was done when I found a guitar lick on my old 51 Gibson ES 125 that hit the spot. It topped the song off and said perfect.
What’s the story behind your album’s title?
Pretty simple, my wife and bandmate Becky is a great cook. So The Girl Can Cook came natural for me especially this time of year!
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?
Life experience to artists I love and of course the love of my life Becky. We really are best friends so there is a lot of inspiration that comes from that.
When/where do you do your best writing?
I do my best writing alone, usually just a guitar and a notebook. I don’t have to go anywhere it just comes naturally when I feel the bug to keep it going. I also draw inspiration from the travels and shows we do and the fine folks we meet.
Do you write about personal experience, the experience of others, observations, made-up stories, something else or a combination?
More about personal experiences and observations of what I see or feel.
What’s the best advice you have ever gotten from another musician?
“Keep It Simple, No Need To Be Fancy” Magic Slim when I was a younger blues slinger and also a great one that told Becky and I “No matter what you do with music do it together and don’t let other people come between that no matter what.” Rod Piazza when we were younger.
What’s the best advice to give to a musician just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to just get out and try stuff. I always tell musicians that I listen to especially when they try to record is don’t overdo it. Keep it simple and let it shine!
What’s your favorite food on the road?
Do you have any touring tips?
No, just don’t be afraid to play other kinds of shows like Coffee Shops.
What are your “must have” albums for the road?
None just a good mix of old rockabilly & classic country does it for me.
What do you love most about being on the road?
Meeting new fans.
What has been your biggest success?
Being nominated for the best Americana/Folk group for the 2017 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards and playing at the Surf Ballroom.
What’s your favorite venue and why?
Tough one I would say the Surf in Clear Lake for obvious reasons.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Chris Isaak, Brian Setzer, Deke Dickerson any or all would be fun.
Which song of yours gets the best crowd response?
The Girl Can Cook, My Best Friend, Sugar Time
Favorite (or first) concert you have ever attended?
Tough one but probably Brian Setzer at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA. Seen him there a couple times now so considered lucky.
Favorite thing to do on a day off?
Do you have a favorite gift from a fan?
I would say some Christmas Ornaments form Mike & Karen that are great fans.
Have you met any of your heroes? How did it go?
Yes, I met Brian Setzer this last summer briefly after a show, super nice down to earth guy.
Song (of yours) you wish you would have released as a single and why?
"Truck Driving Daddy," folks seem to love it online especially