It's said a critical rule of recovery from addiction is learning to be self-honest. Sometimes to the point of discomfort. Travis Meadows knows this feeling well. "I've always struggled with fear," says the Mississippi-raised singer-songwriter who lost his right leg to cancer at age 14; was in and out of rehab four times before finally getting sober in 2010; saw his girlfriend recently get diagnosed with breast cancer and his three-legged dog Larry, who appears on the cover of his new album, go missing. He's one of Nashville's most honest songwriters, "but it's still a little terrifying when you put yourself out there," he says. "I tell a lot of truths in my songs. I give little secrets away."
To his most ardent fans and peers, including Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen, who have all cut Meadows' songs for their respective albums, his open-book approach to his craft is his greatest gift. But Meadows lives in fear of rejection. That ever-lingering sense of distrust remains – the one he's had since 14 when his bandmates laughed the then-drummer out of the room for bringing in intense and personal lyrics. "So I put them in a secret place in my heart for a long time," Meadows says of the raw, confessional and brutally honest songs he was writing even back then. "I still look at my songs kind of like children," Meadows continues of his gnarly narratives often populated with Dylan-esque loners and drifters, and imbued with the sort of dark humor fans of Haggard might appreciate. "And there was a time when I was scared people were going to say, 'Your kid's ugly.' So the easier way was to keep them in the closet and not let anybody see them."