Travis Denning is "fired up." The 27-year-old singer from Georgia's debut EP, Beer's Better Cold, is finally here, and he couldn't be happier about it. "It is awesome to finally give somebody a chapter like that that I've been working on for so long," Denning told PopCulture.com exclusively. "And I think it's a great first chapter in music coming and I've had people that are like, 'It's about damn time.' And I'm like, 'Me too.'"
Beer's Better Cold contains six songs, including Denning's current single, "After a Few," which currently sits at No. 5 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. The rest of the collection offers a look at each facet of Denning's musical personality, from the sentimental "Sittin' By A Fire" to the playful kiss-off "ABBY." "I think probably half the EP they can expect exactly what they think they're going to get," Denning said. "Some high energy party anthems and some stuff that I love to translate on the stage and energy. But I think the other half, I think it's going to surprise people. I think that they're going to be interested by a side of me that I haven't really shown yet with a song like 'Sittin' By A Fire' and 'Beer's Better Cold,' which are a little bit more laid back and super song focused, which is what I love. I love songs, I love hooks, I love surprises in songs and I think half of it is going to be exactly what people want and the other half is going to be kind of like, 'All right, there's another layer to this guy.'"
Hailing from Warner Robins, Georgia, Denning is undeniably country, but along with genre giants like Keith Urban and Eric Church, he also draws inspiration from rock bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, a love that was born after seeing a Mötley Crüe concert when he was young and just beginning to learn to play the guitar. "For me it was the better I got, the farther I got along, I wanted to hear it faster, louder, heavier, angrier, just more and more guitar," explained Denning, who makes it a point to incorporate that guitar-driven attitude into his live shows. "And so that led me down that rock and hard rock and heavy metal past. And that's really where my love for the heavier music came from."
While his love of rock peeks through in spots of the EP's slick country production, Denning writes about what he knows. Calling on country music staples like Levis, ice cold beer and stolen kisses in a pickup truck, he shows off his clever songwriting skill with unexpected turns of phrase and paints vivid pictures of growing up in the country, experiences he found himself reliving while listening to songs from artists like Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Jason Aldean.
"I just realized that everything they were saying and what they were talking about was me and my friends and what we went through growing up, but once I got to Nashville and really started to write songs, do all this other stuff, I just realized that I wanted to combine everything that I grew up with into my sound," Denning explained. "And for me that was the energy on stage of a Mötley Crüe concert. It was the loud guitar. But at the end of the day it's being able to sit on the tailgate with an acoustic guitar and sing your song, tell your story. And as long as I can have both of those and they don't compromise each other then I'm happy." You can stream Beer's Better Cold here.