Travis Ehrenstrom was lucky enough to grow up a traditional, small-town American kid in rural Central Oregon. As he reached middle school, music replaced sports as his dreams took on a new tone. An older brother began passing along his roots-rock interest in artists like Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Bob Dylan and Steve Earle. Travis coupled these acts with his long-time love of songwriters Paul Simon and Jackson Browne and began to create his own sound. From there, Travis wasted no time in developing himself as an artist.
Travis taught himself to play the guitar at age 14, and began writing songs a couple years later. While still in high school, Travis started his first band, National Theater Project, and began to gig around town. Travis’s music was well-received by the creative and encouraging environment into which he was born. Upon graduating from high school, Travis rounded up some talented friends and headed to Santa Cruz’s Ridgetop Sound Studios to record his first album, Somewhere in Between, produced by Brent Alan.
That year, Travis added to his musical resume by being part of the opening act for the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. He also performed at Connor Byrne and Q Cafe in Seattle, Washington, the Santa Monica Pier Folk Festival in California, and at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.
A short stint at Portland State University only solidified Travis’s desire as he dropped out to pursue music as a full-time career. Travis toured nationally as a solo artist before joining Noah Gundersen and the Courage. The Courage toured nationally as well, opening for such acts as Josh Ritter and Kimya Dawson. 2011 saw The Courage break up and Travis move back to Central Oregon.
Two years later, in 2013, Travis successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign for his album, Remain A Mystery. The self-produced album took nine months to record under the watchful eye of co-producer, Keith Banning. As a result of their perfectionism, the album was selected as a top 10 album of the year by the Bend Bulletin.
After taking time away from music in 2015, Ehrenstrom returned in 2017 with a new six-piece band (TEB) that focused more on a jam/fusion style sound.
In 2018 TEB toured the Pacific Northwest, highlighted by inclusion at the 4 Peaks Music Festival.
The summer of 2018 brought TEB’s first studio release “Something on the Surface.” The album was released to much critical acclaim and was selected by the Bend Bulletin as a top release of the year.
For 2019, Ehrenstrom announced a new creative arts project with his wife (Courtney Bruguier) titled “Our Creative States.” The couple is traveling across the United States and Ehrenstom plans to release a song that he writes and records from every state they visit.
“Ehrenstrom’s songwriting is the through line, and he’s cooked up some winners. The 10 tracks explore nearly every corner of the roots-rock realm, from the Tom Petty-esque opener “Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way” to the jangly, upbeat “Heavy Light” to the riff-y stomper “I Watched the World End.” Elsewhere, “Sara” rides a soulful organ riff into a dark ’60s pop groove, while the stuttering piano chords of “Are You Chicago?” recall Ben Folds at his best.” - Brian McElhiney
But it’s the melodies that stand out the most. Ehrenstrom has an immensely likable and relatable voice, which he uses to great effect on the title track’s climbing chorus hook. That song would be the best track here if not for late-album sleeper “Holding on to Nothing,” a heart-wrenching look at a relationship gone stagnant (complete with violin and cello from Ehrenstrom) that should strike a chord with anyone who’s ever loved anyone.
“(Remain A Mystery is) an engaging listen, an eclectic, 21st century take on folk-pop-rock-whatever. Fans of Wilco, Ryan Adams and My Morning Jacket’s mellower moments should take notice.” - Ben Salmon, the Bend Bulletin!
“Ehrenstrom’s sweet-tenored songs seem like a cozy warm blanket, a comforting reminder about what is fundamentally important.” - Phil Busse, the Source Weekly