Rising country artist Travis Denning’s first experience onstage came when he was 14, playing guitar with the Marshall Tucker Band on their enduring 1973 song “Can’t You See.”
“That’s when things shifted into, ‘I just want to get better,” says Denning in the latest episode of the My Opry Debut video series. “I want to work on my songs, I want to work on my playing and try to be the best at that, so when the opportunity comes up, I’m prepared.’”
That opportunity arrived this past November, when the Grand Ole Opry named the Rolling Stone Country 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know alum to Opry NextStage, a yearlong partnership between the Opry and four emerging artists. Denning made his Opry debut at the Ryman Auditorium in December, and will join his NextStage class — Tenille Townes, Riley Green and Tegan Marie — for a special performance Tuesday night at the Ole Red venue in Nashville.
In My Opry Debut, a camera crew follows Denning from Carter Vintage Guitars to the Ryman stage, where he plays his new single “After a Few,” a showcase of his songwriting chops and the guitar licks he woodshedded at backroad bars in his native Georgia.
“The bug that bit me, that made me want to pick up a guitar, was AC/DC,” says Denning in the clip. “I would come home when I was 11, 12, 13 years old, and literally play guitar until dinner time. I loved being able to sit there and create something, just in my room.”
Denning’s prior single, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” was released last year and offered a fresh look at adolescent rites of passage.