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The Foreign Traveler
What started off as a fateful meeting meeting between two house-mates in Austin soon grew to what is now a well-oiled machine of folksy blues in the heart of Dallas’s vibrant art scene. From the beginning of their friendship, Griffin Lewin and Takahiro “Taka” Shimada knew they had something special when they played a well-received impromptu show together only weeks after meeting each other in Austin back in the Fall of 2015. Taka had recently migrated to Austin from his home country of Japan where he had spent the last twenty years of his life dedicated to mastering the guitar. During this time he carefully honed his bluesy electric sound from the influences whose radio waves shaped him from an ocean away.
In contrast, Griffin had grown into his own as both a writer and a singer through cultivating a rich love of music during his youth. Drawing from a wide range of influences, much of his influence stems from the work of John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Ryan Bingham, Jamestown Revival, The Head and the Heart, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Ed Sheeran, and Lord Huron to name a few. Living in Austin while studying at the University of Texas was an instrumental time for him where he and his friends spent many nights drinking whiskey and making music until the early morning hours. Here he discovered a passion for writing songs, which led to performing at parties, open mics, and front-porch shows, and eventually bars and more organized shows as he and Taka slowly grew into a performing group.
As room mates in the West Campus area of Austin, Griffin and Taka spent their free time sharing stories of their home countries and exchanging musical ideas. After graduating in 2017, Griffin moved back home to Dallas where he slowly began to build out what is now his band, Foreign Travelers. Enlisting the brilliance of Taka as his lead guitarist, classically trained drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Ben Croucher, and locally-known and respected saxophonist, Ryan Dahir, he began to develop his original songs under a more diverse sound in both the studio and on the stage under the name Foreign Travelers. The band name comes as a celebration of Taka's journey from Japan to America and the courage it takes to uproot the comfort of one’s life and home to pursue their dream.
Foreign Travelers have played at venues including Opening Bell Coffee, White Rock Coffee, The Goat, The Freeman, Quarter Bar, House of Blues, Prophet Bar, The Ginger Man Pub, and The Freeman. Their first single, Way Back Home, will be released in November of this year to much local anticipation.
Griffin, please share your story with us.
I was born and raised here in Dallas right off of White Rock Lake. Since I was young, music has always been a centripetal force in my life. Everything always seems to come back to consuming, creating, and playing music for me. It’s been and will continue to be a medium through which I perceive and ingest the conscious experience…