Entertainment

Jake Owen has recorded songs by this Mississippi songwriter, who has beaten cancer and addiction

Mississippi native Travis Meadows has written songs for country stars such as Jake Owen and Eric Church.
Mississippi native Travis Meadows has written songs for country stars such as Jake Owen and Eric Church. Courtesy Travis Meadows

When Jake Owen performs on the Great Lawn at Harrah’s at 7 p.m. Friday, it is possible he will perform one of his hits, “What We Ain’t Got,” that rose to No. 19 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

What some fans may not know is the song was written by Mississippi native Travis Meadows.

There’s a lot going on with Meadows these days. The Jackson native released his latest album, “First Cigarette,” on Friday, Oct. 13, a day many see as unlucky.

But Meadows has never lived his life based on luck — there’s nothing lucky about losing both your parents at an early age, getting cancer as a teenager and battling demons and addictions.

So there’s nothing “lucky” about Travis Meadows, but he is a survivor. He beat cancer and is overcoming his addiction and alcoholism. He’s also stuck around long enough to see himself become part of the national music conversation. “First Cigarette” has been praised by national media outlets such as “Rolling Stone” and NPR.

But he’s also still surviving. He recently watched his girlfriend fight her own battle with cancer and he lost his best mate, a three-legged dog. You can hear the pain in Meadows’ voice when he talks about the dog.

“He taught me so much, man,” Meadows said in an interview with the Sun Herald. “I learned so much from that guy — that’s why the album cover looks that way.”

For many country singers, Meadows is a well-known name. In addition to Owen recording his song, he has had his songs record by Eric Church and Dierks Bentley.

Owen’s cover of “What We Ain’t Got,” was on his 2013 album titled “Days of Gold.”

In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Owen praised Meadows for his “honesty.”

“I love Travis as a singer/songwriter,” Owen told Billboard. “A couple of records ago, I cut one of his songs called ‘Cherry on Top,’ which is a long way from this song (“What We Ain’t Got”). He had a record called ‘Killin’ Uncle Buzzy,’ which he wrote when he was getting treatment, and the song was on the record, and I would sit on the bus while I was out on the road and listen to it. There was so much honesty in it. I’ve learned that in order for me to move on down the road in my career and be a part of this genre that it’s all about great songs. It doesn’t matter who wrote it or where it came from. It’s all about the music.”

Meadows said he spent a lot of time punching the proverbial clock as a songwriter in Nashville.

“I started doing that when I was 38 and I was coming out of my preacher days, and I moved to Nashville because I was giving up on being an artist because music is beautiful and I thought there was no room for ugly people or old people, so I had given up on it,” he said. “I moved to Nashville specifically to write songs.”

His professional writing career landed him a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.

“Songwriters will tell other songwriters secrets that they won’t even tell their wives or husbands,” Meadows said. “I’ve told secrets with songwriters that I didn’t even want God to know.”

Meadows said he is still writing songs professionally at BMG Publishing.

“I have a little more leverage because I’ve had some success,” he said. “I had to quit worrying about what Tim McGraw wanted to put on his next record and just start writing songs that I love.”

Hear Travis Meadows complete interview with Jeff Clark on the #ClarkCast Podcast

Shows to catch on The Coast Oct. 20-21

Jake Owen

7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20

The Great Lawn at Harrah’s at 280 Beach Boulevard in Biloxi

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com.

Styx

8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20

IP Casino Resort at 850 Bayview Ave. in Biloxi

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com.

Anthony Cools

8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21

IP Casino at 850 Bayview Ave. in Biloxi

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com.

Easton Corbin

8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21

Hard Rock Live Biloxi at 777 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com.

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