Randy Travis

  • Country and gospel singer born Randy Traywick in 1959, in Marshville North Carolina.
  • Travis was encouraged to sing by his father. He learned to play the guitar at 8 years old, and sang at his local church. At 16, he won a talent contest at a local club. The club owner, Elizabeth Hatcher, took an interest in him, and hired him to cook, and to perform. They began to focus on his career. At 21, he moved in with her, and in 1982, they moved to Nashville. By 1991, they were married (and divorced 19 years later).
  • In the early 80s, he was rejected by all the major record companies – they complained that he was “too country.” He made an independent album, Live at the Nashville Palace, using the name Randy Ray, which Hatcher used to make a deal with Warner Bros Records.
  • Warner changed his name to Randy Travis, and in 1985, 2 singles were released, On the Other Hand and 1982. The song 1982 reached the top 10 on country charts, and when Warner re-released On the Other Hand, it was Travis’ first #1 hit.
  • In 1986, his debut album was released, Storms of Life. It reached #1 on the Country Album chart, and sold over 4 million copies. His next 4 albums also hit #1. His most popular album was Always & Forever, which won him a Grammy award, and was #1 for 43 weeks, selling over 5 million copies.
  • In 1992, he took a break from recording, and focused on an acting career. He has been in 15 different TV roles, and in 25 films. He returned to recording music in 1994.
  • He has released 21 studio albums, 2 live albums, and 58 singles. Of the singles, 23 peaked at #1 on Billboard’s country chart. His highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was Three Wooden Crosses, hitting #31 in 2002.  He has won 6 Grammy awards, including his 2009 duet with Carrie Underwood, I Told You So. 
  • In July 2013, Travis was hospitalized with viral cardiomyopathy, and three days later he had a massive stroke. He survived, though was unable to speak and required a cane to walk for over a year. After 3 years of therapy, his voice had recovered, allowing him to speak again. At his induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2016, he sang Amazing Grace as a sing along with the audience. It was a touching moment (you can find it on YouTube).
  • Travis has a distinctive baritone vocal, and his traditional country music style flew in the face of the highly produced pop music trend of the 90s. Three Wooden Crosses is a personal favorite of mine – classic old school country, telling the story of 4 people – a farmer, a teacher, a hooker and a preacher on a trip to Mexico, and 3 of the 4 are killed in an accident along the way. Watch a performance of this song, with Josh Turner singing by his side.

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