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Photo by Athen Smith @picsbyathen

Though he just started college, this 19-year-old is already racking up more than 8,000 monthly streams on Spotify. The guy generating all that traffic is soft-rock singer-songwriter Ayden Trammell, whose latest single, “Water and Salt,” follows two previous singles and an EP. The Tarrant County College student said he was not expecting that kind of response.

“The support I’ve received is really comforting knowing that there are people who are able to feel what I’m putting out,” he said. “I never planned on doing much with this in the first place, and now there’s people who want me to.”

From receiving a Stratocaster on Christmas morning when he was 7, Trammell made it to jazz band at Arlington’s Martin High School, where he met drummer Nathan Walters, a future bandmate in local rockers Big Red Ants and now Trammell’s backing band, The Forty Stories. Trammell’s first time onstage was during freshman year with Big Red Ants at a sports bar in 2014. He played rhythm guitar and sang backup. Though the Ants are still a thing, Trammell is excited about his solo work. He’s been performing with The Forty Stories since 2019 and has played venues across North Texas, including MASS on the Near Southside and Lola’s Trailer Park.

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Trammell said that The Forty Stories –– which also includes keyboardist Keith Galloway and bassist Mike Limas –– will record their own, separate album soon.

Trammell: “I never planned on doing much with this in the first place, and now there’s people who want me to.”
Photo by Athen Smith @picsbyathen

Trammell plans on collaborating with several other musicians for his upcoming solo album, including 19-year-old R&B artist Jasmine Jashuan and trumpeter Hunter Trammel for the song “My Poor Brain.” Ian Brothers (Acid Carousel, Black Vega, Big Red Ants) is set to play drums for “Homely Jonas,” another track to be included on the album.

The upcoming album does not have a hard release date yet, and Trammell said he’s still juggling ideas for an album title.

Before the pandemic, Ayden Trammell and Big Red Ants drew decent crowds, Trammell said.

“Honestly, it got a little tricky with the outbreak happening,” he said. “Typically, we draw a pretty big crowd playing in Deep Ellum and Fort Worth, trying to get as many people out as we can.”

Trammell finds himself writing lyrics throughout the day a piece at a time and taking lockdown to experiment with different sounds.

“There are still songs with the signature sounds,” he said. “I’m also changing things up a little bit and being more open with writing. Upbeat, fun songs always get the crowd going.”

In the spirit of one of Trammell’s biggest influences, Ray LaMontagne, the local singer-songwriter’s oeuvre is full of heartache and cosmic vibes. “Juice in the Morning” and “When the Night Gets Older” are particularly poignant, with their lyrics of loss and longing and notions of being down and out because of a broken heart. The uptempo “Ramona” breaks the spell while pleasantly matching the singer-songwriter’s softly pitched, high voice.

On Trammell’s latest, the scorching “Water and Salt,” he shares vocal duties with Los Angeles solo artist Jessi Blue, their beautiful work recounting a story of star-crossed lovers.

“I wrote you a letter I think you might like,” Blue sings, “Ending in three words that follow ‘goodnight’ / Painted you pictures of us in starlight / Two souls apart are all intertwined / And all the things I would do for your hand in mine.”

The love song was released on Valentine’s Day, which Trammell said seemed like a good time to drop the track onto Spotify.

Trammell said that he’s taking time to focus on the album by shooting a music video.

“I’ve been allowed more time to put less focus on live shows and focus more on other things,” he said.

Trammell doesn’t exactly know where the great response to his music is coming from and said, “If I knew, I’d tell you. I guess social media did the most for my following.”

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