sings the mail-carrier blues Saturday
By Chalres Cassady
Published June 21, 2006
time you complain about the price of stamps, keep in mind the United
States Post Office legacy to the world of music. Classic songs like
“Mr. Postman,” “Return to Sender,” “Take a Letter, Maria.”
And then there’s Travis Haddix, of Bedford Heights,
now a name-brand blues act on the international stage, after years
of scrimping and saving on a mail-carrier’s salary.
“I am retired from the U.S. Postal service, and now
I am a full time musician, doing what I truly enjoy,” said Haddix,
who goes by the nom-de-blues 'Moonchild’ when he’s on stage. The
next time that will be is this Saturday night at 9 p.m., when the
Travis Haddix Band makes its special deliveries at the Savannah
Bar & Grill, a longtime blues hotspot in Westlake at 30676
“Be ready to dance and have lots of fun, because we
play dance music in addition to slow blues,” said Haddix, who will
be backed up by an ensemble of Cleveland and Bedford bluesmen, David
Ruffin (tenor sax), Gus Hawkins (alto sax), Jeremy Sullivan (percussion)
Greg Nicholson (Bass guitar) and Gil Zachary (keyboards). Haddix
also played and recorded with iconic Cleveland bluesman Robert Lockwood
The Travis Haddix Band (formerly known as the Now
Sound) has been around since 1988, but Haddix had his beginnings
in blues much earlier. He was born in Mississippi 1938 to a multi-instrumentalist
Delta-bluesman father. Travis began playing piano at the age of
7 in his hometown of Walnut, 30 miles south of Memphis. It was seeing
a Memphis blues-scene eminence, the legendary B.B. King, that made
the young Haddix gravitate away from the 88s and toward blues guitar
After living (and performing) in Milwaukee for a time,
Haddix and his family came to Cleveland in 1959, working with the
D.L. Rocco Band and
the Little Johnnie Taylor group when not making the
When his group takes the Savannah stage they will
play a mixture of half covers, half his originals, said Haddix.
The Travis Haddix flavor of
blues songwriting has been covered by Artie `Bluesboy’ White (with whom he recently did a CD), Dickie Williams,
Michael Burks, and Jimmy Dawkins.
Blues history is replete with sad stories of Afro-American
blues artists recording for white-owned record companies and getting
less than their fair share of earnings. Since 1989, however, Haddix
has presided over his own record label, Wann-Sonn.
“I have always liked the idea of having my own label,
so when the opportunity came I took advantage of it,” Haddix said.
“The name `Wann-Sonn was taken from my two daughters’ names – Wanda
and Sonya – thus Wann-Sonn.”
Expect a first-class package of Wann-Sonn CDs for
sale at the Savannah – no postage and handling necessary. Titles
include his recent “Artie and Travis” (with Artie White), compilations
of great Cleveland blues and R&B, and a live CD called “Mud
Cakes,” recorded live in Osnabruck, Germany.
Haddix heads abroad routinely, touring Europe every
year since 1992. Miss his Savannah gig? You can catch Travis Haddix
live later this summer (and pick up collectible foreign stamps)
by following his gigs in Switzerland, in Greifensee and Zurich,
and in Germany at Viersen. There he stars at festivals devoted to
American blues music. “I must agree that my music seems to be more
appreciated overseas than here in the states, and I don’t have an
explanation for it.”
This was lately illustrated by a cross-cultural German
comedy movie, “Schultze Gets the Blues,” about a retired German
miner-turned- musician wandering through Cajun and zydeco and blues
bayous of the U.S. Haddix himself recently made a screen breakthrough
when one of his songs was used in “April’s Fool,” an independently-produced
feature shot in Cincinnati and Louisville. (“I never got a chance
to see the movie because when it was shown here I was overseas on
tour.”) And his autobiography has attracted serious attention from
a book publisher in Finland.
Since last year Travis Haddix can be heard on Monday
night co-hosting a blues show on college radio station WCSB-FM
89.3 (avidly listened to by the night shift at the Cleveland downtown
You can find more about Travis `Moonchild’ Haddix
at his official website www.travishaddix.net.
And, yes, there’s a link for e-mail.