Paul Corliss delivers a storytelling odyssey with ‘Travels, Travails, Triumphs’

On his three-song collection Travels, Travails, Triumphs, Paul Corliss tells the poignant tales of a life spent on the move

Paul Corliss has offered a masterclass in storytelling with Travels, Travails, Triumphs, the collective name for a trio of singles released by the singer-songwriter since late last year.

Comprised of previous singles Headed West, Chicago Feels, and Secrets Have Short Lives, the collection traces the Texas native from the sounds of country to soft rock, as underpinned by the distinct feel of progressive Americana. 

Paul Corliss

Headed West opens with twangy guitar melodies and rustic percussion, immediately establishing Corliss’ knack for country grooves.

In what remains a throughline for the remaining two tracks, Corliss immediately paints a picture through his lyricism, with Headed West recounting the tale of a vagabond protagonist in search of “a brand new start.” 

In true country music form, the surrounding instrumentation only amplifies Corliss’ storytelling, with steady rhythms and leisurely pacing that makes it feel as though reciting the tale around a campfire.

There’s mentions of pit-stops in Colorado and Idaho, before the song’s character meets a woman with whom he forms a band. This rich world-building continues on Chicago Feels, albeit with a different score.

While Corliss’ country twang remains ever-infectious, this track is carried on softer rock flourishes, complete with fuzzy melodies and grittier licks.

Paul Corliss

Here, Corliss pays tribute to the titular city, with shoutouts to the Chicago Cubs and “the city’s rhythmic tracks.” 

Like Headed West before it, Chicago Feels is a tale of transience, as the subject finds their way to New York City by the song’s end, but not before a dazzling guitar solo that sets the stage for yet more journeys.

The trilogy reaches its conclusion on Secrets Have Short Lives, a rumination on the turmoil that life on the road can entail.

Atop jangly piano keys and punchy percussion, Corliss laments broken relationships and toxic bosses, drunken nights and financial woes. 

Paul Corliss

“The Travels, Travails, Triumphs singles are story-telling songs – deeper and longer than my previous releases,” Corliss said of the trilogy in a press statement.

“While the stories in the songs are fictitious, there are bits of truth in each that make them personal to me.” The collection was recorded in Dallas’ Sunland Sound studio with production and engineering courtesy of Michael Smith.

Listen to Paul Corliss’ singles trilogy Travels, Travails, Triumphs below. 

All Photos: Andrew Sherman