The Cowboy Mashup Music Show
Eric "Travis" Wilson has a something to say about Las Vegas show business and where his Cowboy Mashup Music Show fits in. A self-described "live-in tourist," he moved to Vegas nine years ago to be a performer, but says, "I got sidetracked running sound for Penn & Teller, Wayne Newton, Fantasy, and several other shows." He also says, "In Vegas there are magic shows, comedians, hot girls in topless reviews, hot dudes in male reviews, big-production Cirque-type shows, and suave lounge singers. There is only one Cowboy Mashup Music Show."
The original germ of an idea happened one night in Seattle in 1993, while Eric Wilson was playing cover songs in a lounge. He recalls, "On a whim, I played a verse of MC Hammer's 'U Can't Touch This' as a Country ballad. The audience found it hilarious, and the next day I set about recording the whole song like that in my home studio. By the time I got to the chorus I was getting bored, so I had it go into Speed Metal style, then back to slow Country swing. My musician friends encouraged me to write original material in this style, and what started out as a joke to amuse myself became a nine-piece band that lasted for ten years."
In "The only Country-Metal-Rap band there ever was," and as the character "Travis Shredd," he combined three seemingly incompatible musical styles to form Travis Shredd and the Good Ol' Homeboys, whose three albums got him radio airplay simultaneously on Seattle's Country, R&B, Rock, and college radio stations. Despite a loyal following, celebrity fans, excellent press, and a succession of three managers, the big record deal and fame never quite materialized. Well, that's what happens when you play Country-Metal-Rap. Despite its novelty, fun and surprise, record companies were at a loss as to how to market and promote such a beast.
Which is why we now find the former Mister Shredd in Las Vegas, at the Alexis Park hotel, starring in The Cowboy Mashup Music Show. "Travis" decided that in order to remove the steep learning curve of an original band playing Country, Metal and Rap, he would remove the most challenging part for the audience - the original songs. And playing familiar hits has freed him up to go even further afield in musical scope. The Cowboy Mashup Music Show features songs by Lady Gaga, Kenny Rogers, Tupac, Santana, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Shania Twain, Billy Idol... Well, you get the idea. He plays Country, Rock, R&B, Salsa, Reggae, and yes, the original Country ballad version of "U Can't Touch This" does make an appearance. In the course of the show, "Travis" plays guitar, banjo, drums, and piano, all the while maintaining a sparkling Country persona. He claims, "If you want to be the best at something, invent your own category." And that's a fine Vegas-style mission statement.
The Cowboy Mashup Music Show currently runs every Thursday night at 7:00 at the Alexis Park hotel, on Harmon Ave.