"My refrigerator rattles, a corner lamp buzzes in my ear/ and these are the sounds of an empty house right here." - Empty House - Travis Collins-James Blundell.

When Travis Collins emerged from the killing zone of Macquarie Fields he lurked in the shadows of English singer Jude Cole.

The singer, then 21, chose two Cole songs on his debut disc Start The Car to appease radio's familiarity fuehrers.

That was despite writing Bridge That You Won't Burn with his dad Terry when he won Starmaker as a teenager in 2004.

Collins covers another Cole tune Heart Of The Blues on his second disc with unlisted duet partner - Flood singer Kevin Bennett.

The singer produced the disc with Ted Mulry Gangplank walker Herm Kovac and is more in charge of his destiny.

He shares electric and acoustic guitar with Glenn Hannah and Randall Waller on the disc he kicks off with Yeah She Does - a flippant song penned by expatriates Keith Urban and Hugh Murray.

This is a feel good country pop aimed at the youth market that made Urban a belated but worthy superstar.

It segues into Empty House - a memorable and evocative collaboration with James Blundell.

The singer, now 24, is equally credible on pathos primed Don't Win Enough, joyous Brand New Day and Didn't We Love - fuelled by the fiddle of Aubrey Haynie.

His cover of Garth Brooks-Victoria Shaw ballad A Friend To Me lacks the passion of hook heavy Greg Barnhill tune Everything About You.


"There was a code red, the man was all but dead/ they wheeled him on the emergency bed/ he watched and let him bleed to death/ there was a snake tattoo on the front of his chest." - What Goes Around - Travis Collins-Scotty Greenaway.

But the peaks are the album's finale - anthemic agoraphobia escape tune Walls Come Down and summary justice narrative What Comes Around.

The latter song's character, on the cusp of university, is working petrol pumps in his dad's service station when a tattooed bandit kills his sire.

Despite the dramatic death the son graduates from university as a doctor and enjoys sweet revenge when a patient, with snake tattoo, greet his maker as the doctor chooses to withdraw medical aid.

Perhaps it's a vibrant version of two writers uttering a Hippocratic oath with delicious dexterity in the summary justice corral.

Collins and his co-writer - road and studio band bassist Scotty Greenaway - graduate here with honours from the Robert Earl Keen-Tom Pacheco-Charlie Robison robbery without redemption sting in the tail of the tale college.

Yes, this fiery finale definitely elevates Collins disc above the pack.

Greencards member Kym Warner, Randy Kohrs and Haynie added mandolin, dobro and fiddle in Nashville but Michel Rose's pedal steel and Rod McCormack's banjo were recorded in Sydney.

Collins disc proves the depth of local talent and emulates its title - level radio playing fields would magnify that.


In 2007 Travis enjoyed a five-week tour of the United Kingdom, playing in England and in Scotland.

He also spent six weeks in Nashville where, like many peers, he wrote with seasoned songsmiths.

"It was an amazing trip," Collins revealed.

"I've had the chance to write with some really talented songwriters, and during my stay in Nashville I wrote or co-wrote more than 30 songs. I also got to perform in some very cool venues and play in front of some of the biggest artists in Nashville."

Collins video for previous single Yeah She Does featured a Sydney socialite Jamie Wright.

The vocally challenged heir-head Paris Hilton crowned Wright as Miss Bondi Blonde for a beer commercial on New Year's Day 2007.

Travis previously won national exposure with his male lead role in the high rotation video for Kasey Chambers huge hit Not Pretty Enough.

The second youngest boy of six children, he has come a long way since busking in Queen Street, Campbelltown.

"I once busked for 2 hours and made $140, which I used to buy country music CDS," Collins revealed at the time.

"I think I made so much money because when I was little I was cute. Now I have to work a lot harder."

top / back to diary