SHERIDAN — Music has always been a staple in Tris Munsick’s life. His family, filled with musical talent, combined a love for lyrics with the life of cowboys in Sheridan County. With the life of a musical artist and ranch hand, Munsick understands the magic within both occupations.
When Munsick returned from a stint in the south to Wyoming, he and his band — Tris Munsick and the Innocents — had to prove their worth to crowds that they were different than other country western groups trying to make it in a saturated market.
“As an influence, looking back now years down the road, (my time in the south) really forced me to become a better songwriter and it forced me to become better as a solo performer because I couldn’t afford to hire a band very often down there,” Munsick said. “…I focused a lot on performing solo and doing singer-songwriter stuff. Down there they really push for you to do your original stuff; that’s what they want, that’s what they respect, and that’s what they want to hear.”
Munsick said through influences from the southern music scene, he learned to value his own songwriting abilities.
“‘What do you have to say?’” Munsick relayed. “‘We don’t really want to hear what somebody else has to say that you’re regurgitating.’”
From that experience, he became confident in what he had to say musically, and to this day performs what he believes is true, classic country instead of a new age of country where the influence of the pop genre is often heard.
Munsick recognizes the cutthroat nature of the music industry throughout the United States but he avoids it by primarily touring throughout the West in places that will appreciate the work of a small-town cowboy. He’s accomplished much in his still fairly-new career, but Munsick feels nowhere close to “arriving” at a pinnacle.
“I would definitely say that we have not ‘arrived,’ for sure,” Munsick said.
He compared the journey to rolling a ball uphill. Tough shows and tough crowds might bring him down, but other times his experiences feel like the hill isn’t as steep.
“Sometimes you can get a little momentum and it pulls you along instead of you pushing it,” Munsick said. “And even just those little moments of momentum that feels like you’re just along for the ride and it spurs you on.”
Munsick hasn’t yet arrived. He hasn’t figured it all out, but as a young, successful musical artist with humble beginnings in Sheridan, Munsick keeps climbing toward bigger dreams while maintaining who he is and was at the start of his career.