What's a guy to do when he's not recording award-winning albums or producing them for other artists at his own recording studio? Why, start up a side project, that's what. For anyone familiar with Salim Nourallah's body of work, which most recently includes manning the knobs on the Old 97's Most Messed Up and his stellar solo record Skeleton Closet, it's nothing new that the guy keeps himself busy. But the Travoltas make for an especially fun diversion.
Formed a few years ago, the Travoltas have an affinity for tan suits and playful, jaunty songwriting that makes them a perfect match for our busking series, which is shot by Casey Carr and his team at Globe Trek Productions. In spite of its un-self-serious approach, the band is actually a pretty crack team: joining Nourallah are Paul Slavens (of Ten Hands and KXT fame), Emsy Robinson Jr., Nick Earl and Jason Garner. Four of those five members have been nominated for awards in this year's Dallas Observer Music Awards, including Best Bassist (Robinson) and Best Guitarist (Earl). Not too shabby.
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For their busking session, however, the Travoltas loosened those starched collars and took their lounge- and family-friendly act outdoors at The Foundry, where they were played a free gig earlier this month. The title of the first song, "Mail Ya to Australia," gives you a pretty good idea of the tongue-in-cheek level it operates on, while "Can't Say No to You" displays some of Nourallah's sly songwriting panache, with a few handclaps thrown in for good measure.
The best part? Garner didn't have a strap for his drum, so Nourallah managed to talk a woman (who happened to be there celebrating her birthday) into carrying the drum for him and, uh, wearing a bear mask. So, happy belated to her.