Travis Peck is a well-recognized face around Claremore, often sporting a red bird logo and a short-trimmed ginger beard.
He may soon be well-recognized under a different name following the release of his first EP earlier this month.
There is a long, and frankly silly, back-story behind the name George Melton and the Bison.
Peck released a handful of cover songs to his personal Facebook page around 2017, accidentally violating the copyrights on some of them.
Before he could get around to deleting the videos, Facebook deleted his account.
The Melton family, owners of MoreClaremore, had an old account for George Melton that wasn’t being used.
“They said ‘You can use it if it will work,’ and I’ve been using it for almost two years now,” Peck said. And no, he hasn’t bothered to change the name.
As a regular at Musician’s Haven Jam Nights, members of Bison Flats convinced him to tag “the Bison” on as a joke.
“The ‘band’ is really just me, but I’m going to add to it as I go along,” Peck said.
Blending his aesthetic and his sound, the EP title “Sneakers and a Six String,” tells you everything you need to know about Peck’s take on country music.
He’s an authentically Oklahoma boy and he’s not pretending to be any- thing else.
The most recognizable track is “The Ballad of Travis Meyer,” which went viral in May and is reportedly Travis Meyer’s ringtone according to sources at News on 6.
“During all the crazy flooding, I think I had watched Travis Meyer on TV for probably a good eight hours straight,” Peck said. “I went to bed that night and tornado sirens had gone
off again.” “That next morning I sat down
with my guitar before I had to take my kid to school, wrote that, recorded it, and posted the video,” Peck said. “I thought it would be funny, but also I think he does a great job.”
Filmed on his back porch with a single acoustic guitar, Peck sings, “He can predict the slightest wind gust / he won’t flinch at a flood or a fire / he is the king of the Tulsa weather scene / we call him Travis Meyer.”
Within hours it was across social media, and was even played on air on News on 6 and partner radio station KVOO.
Laughing, Peck said, “As a person who loves being validated as often as possible, it was awesome!”
The second track, called “Sure Love You,” is technically the oldest of the four, written last year as a present for his wife Jessica on their 15th wed- ding anniversary.
Unlike most love songs focused on the act of falling in love, “Sure Love You,” emphasizes what love looks like years into a happy, healthy marriage.
Rhythmically, it’s ideal for a slow dance. Lyrically, it’s ideal for remind- ing your spouse just how important they are.
“She makes me way better in all aspects of life, and I wanted to try to convey that as best I could lyrically,” Peck said.
“For recording’s sake we changed a few lyrics to make it a little less specific,” Peck said.
Peck started writing poetry when he was 8 years old. As a result, all of his songs are typically born lyrics first.
“Let Me Be Me,” the third track on the EP, has a different origin story.
“I wanted something a little bit faster,” Peck said. “I really love the Chris Stapleton kind of feel.”
Inspired by the blue-grass sound of the music, Peck said, the lyrics were written more to match the tone than from any personal experience.
But for the fourth track, “North of the Red Dirt,” Peck returned home in
more ways than one. “For the most part I don’t write out
of the blue,” Peck said. “I wrote this when my sister moved to Utah a year and a half ago ... the week before she left.”
“We’ve always been tight, and she was moving out of Oklahoma for the first time ever,” Peck said.
Growing up three years apart with a shared love of musicals, a discerning listener will catch lyrical references to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.
When Hayley Westwood came home for a visit, they got together to record the love song to Oklahoma, side by side.
“She told me that she enjoyed recording it because when she would hear it before, it made her sad because it reminded her of leaving, but now she likes hearing it because it reminds her of coming back to visit with family and friends,” Peck said.
The EP is only the first of a good 30-something songs Peck has written that are not yet ready to be exposed to the light of day.
When Westwood visits again in November, they plan to record a few more and release a second EP.
“I sang with my little sister my whole life, just for fun at home, rarely in public,” Peck said. “I had all of these lyrics and melodies in my head. I really wanted to learn how to play guitar and get them out there.”
A little over five years ago, for Christmas, Jessica bought him a six- string. With that show of support, he started learning how to play, so he could them music out of his head, off of the paper, and into the air.
Since then, Peck has been a regular at small stages around Claremore, adding something special to local events.
Despite his obvious talent, Peck isn’t too ambitious about making it to the big times.
“If it never goes any further than where we are right now, that’s great. If someone wants to pick up one of my songs and record it for something, that would be great, too,” he said.