Travis Charbeneau started playing guitar in 1962 at the age of 17 and has worked in music ever since. Early experience included garage bands of every description and several road bands working out of Miami, up the Florida Coast, into Atlanta, New York, Detroit and points in between. Travis wrote, sang, and played lead guitar, and he did a good deal of solo and duo work when the bands were off.
He began freelancing in 1973 as an engineer and commercial producer at a number of Miami recording studios, among them Linale Sound, Visual Productions, Tel-Air Interests and Criteria. In 1979 Charbeneau contracted severe arthritis which put an end to standard guitar playing. He now has surgical fusions in all fingers. However, computers, synths and MIDI came to the rescue in 1986. His most productive home MIDI studio included a PC running old Sequencer Plus Gold and Digital Orchestrator Pro software by Voyetra Technologies (he was a beta tester for these programs), as well as digital audio gear from Roland, Yamaha, E-mu, Casio, ART, the usual suspects, all sequenced "live" by the computer and recorded direct to either tape or hard disk. This work is characterized by short "songs," in eclectic genres: ballads, space rock, jazz, blues, classical, Latin. He eventually developed a specialty in hard rock instrumentals, showcased in two "MetalSynth" collections. In 2000 he finished a compilation CD, "Pieces of Mind," featuring 22 tracks from seven albums produced in this period between 1986-92. Combined, these run the gamut, with the rockers featuring his own synth programming and guitar simulation and sequencing techniques.
In addition to receiving repeated airplay on Richmond's WCVE-FM (NPR), his Jeff Beck-ish "Fanfare for the Common Putz" climaxed "Future Radio," a nationally- syndicated radio hour of indie music. Also in this period, Voyetra Technologies featured two "MetalSynth" cuts, plus Charbeneau's writing, production and narration on an audio cassette demo of their music software.
In 1993, Charbeneau acquired a lap steel guitar his grandfather had originally made in 1957 from a piece of Hawaiian "Monkey Pod" wood, and he taught himself this "fingerless" instrument. Accordingly, his more recent work integrates digitally-recorded lap steel and vocals over sequenced backing. In the fall of 2003 Charbeneau began working up some of the lap steel compositions he'd pulled together over the last several years. "Man of Steel" is the result, with a variety of cuts, like those from "Pieces of Mind," posted here as MP3s
In Richmond, VA, beginning in 2001, he played lap steel with The Shiners for two years, appearing on both their CDs "Bonnie Blue" and "See Rock City"; gigging as far afield as DC's Iota and Manhattan's The Rodeo Bar. He then hooked up with singer-songwriter Ben Jordan, first as a duo, and then with the Richmond edition of "Ben Jordan & the Heathens." He's currently recording more original material, doing some session work and playing out when he can.
Charbeneau's music journalism outings include articles for Keyboard Magazine, Music Technology (US and UK), World Monitor, Option, Copley News Service, and The Futurist, The Journal of the World Future Society. In July of 1989 he gave a presentation to the Sixth General Assembly of the Society in Washington, DC: "Towards a New Folk Music; the Computer Revolution in Music.
From the wayback machine, 1973
As a solo act, 1977
Sweating at Richmond's Sine, 2004 (w-Scotty Lewis)
Grandaddy Watson's 1957 "Monkey Pod" lap
My trusty Gibson BR-9
1936 Dobro 1 - all-aluminum Hawaiian Guitar
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