by Craig Shelburne
Travis Tritt entered the 2000s in a brief career lull, but that all changed with the 2000 comeback single, “Best of Intentions.” Written by Tritt himself, the lead single on a new label reinstated his chart dominance and became his first No. 1 hit in roughly six years. It also reestablished him as one of the most creative artists in the video format, this time casting himself as an inmate who wishes things had gone differently.
The poignant track topped Billboard’s country radio chart in the issue dated November 18, 2000 — twenty years ago today — becoming his fifth (and final) No. 1 hit.
At a 2001 party celebrating his career resurgence, Tritt stated, “I wasn’t sure a couple of years ago that I would have this opportunity again…to be able to come back and have platinum albums to celebrate and No. 1 singles to celebrate and sold-out performances to celebrate, all those things, it’s truly a gift. … I truly am more appreciative of that now than I’ve ever been in my career.”
Throughout the ’90s, Tritt secured numerous hits for Warner Bros., but as the deal progressed, he realized that his records weren’t reaching retail stores consistently. (And you couldn’t just look it up on your phone back then, either.) Though he charted 30 singles for Warner, he and the label parted ways.
Switching to Columbia Nashville, he seized upon a second wind, racing back up the chart with “Best of Intentions,” as well as “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and “Love of a Woman,” which both spent multiple weeks at No. 2. The corresponding album ultimately reached platinum status, too.
“When you see both ends of the spectrum, you see the top, and then you see what it’s like to be on the bottom,” Tritt said at that party, “you wonder whether or not you’ll ever have a chance to come back, and you don’t take anything for granted.”
After a long absence in the studio but still touring consistently, Tritt is back on the rise. In January, he co-starred in Hot Country Knight’s video “Pick Her Up,” then in September, he released a long-awaited single titled “Ghost Town Nation.” One can hope that his best intentions will include more new music in the years ahead.