It’s very likely Travis McKeveny heard his first folk song while snuggled protectively in his mother’s womb but the 26-year-old Blue Point resident only got serious about embarking on a folk music career three years ago.
It wasn’t like he didn’t have any opportunity earlier, or that he caught the folk song bug late. He grew up listening to folk music, attending rehearsals, writing lyrics here and there and watching his father, Gerry McKeveny, make a living as a professional folk singer and acoustic performer for decades.
“I had a fun childhood and grew up with a great appreciation of the craft," said McKeveny who credits his father’s influence and John Gorka as his musical inspirations. Gorka is a contemporary American folk musician who has been described by Rolling Stone as "the preeminent male singer-songwriter" of the New Folk Movement
“I grew up with it, it’s been a part of my life but it was only after college that I decided to spend more energy on music,” said the soft-spoken McKeveny who is a known performer at Bayport’s Grey Horse Tavern and describes himself as musician with a songwriter's mentality.
“The words, the lyrics come first,” said McKeveny, and it’s been that way since he started jotting down songs a few years ago long before the idea of a CD was born.
In fact many of the songs and snatches of lyrics written years ago are the foundation of McKeveny’s first CD, “Last Year’s Leaves,” which he self-produced at the end of 2012 in six months of recording in his parent’s basement.
He very quickly credits a long list of family and friends and is thankful for all their support in helping making the album of nine songs, and a bonus track, a reality. His father, whom McKeveney said can play most any instrument, accompanies his son on many of the tracks as well as on vocals.
Releasing the CD just before Christmas, recalled McKeveny, brought a mixed bag of emotions.
“I felt elated and terrific but at the same time a bit terrified,” he said with a slight grin.
He’s learned a few lessons during his first music publishing experience and is more than willing to share with other artists.
“Don’t be too tentative, jump out of the gate,” he advises, adding “and never underestimate the willingness of others to help out. This has been a very collaborative effort with my family and friends.”
"Last Year’s Leaves," which is available by contacting McKeveney through Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone ((631)-275-2501) and his website, is clearly just the first of likely many collections to come from the young musician. The CD can also be downloaded and purchased on iTunes.
The first CD's focus is about reconciliation, McKeveny's life and, to some degree, served as a musical vehicle of self-examination, he said.
Though he's not quite sure yet what the next CD will philosophically represent, McKeveney said he already has more than a few songs written and several churning to be put to music.
While he might have taken a longer route than some to find his creative muse, McKeveney's clearly intent on catching up for lost time.