In a genre that pays homage to an artist’s body of work, it is rare for an artist to reach the celebrated status of a country music great.
Country music icon and trailblazer Randy Travis has done just that and is being celebrated today.
Along with a slew of honors and ceremonies, a memoir, a re-issue of his iconic Storms of Life album, many retrospective interviews, and more, Randy is getting his flowers now, and deservingly so. The Country Music Hall of Fame member has received a long list of honors including seven Grammy Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music awards, 10 American Music Awards, two People’s Choice awards, eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association and five Country Music Association honors. In addition, three of his performances earned CMA Song of the Year honors: “On the Other Hand” (1986), “Forever and Ever Amen” (1987) and “Three Wooden Crosses” (2002). To date, he has 23 No. 1 singles, 31 Top-10 hits and more than 40 appearances in feature films and television shows to his credit.
Randy and his wife Mary Travis are thankful to the team that has surrounded them and embraced Randy’s legacy.
“Warner, Cris Lacy and John Esposito have been there for a long time,” Mary Travis tells MusicRow. “Tony Conway came along after Randy’s stroke and has just been a Godsend. He’s like a brother to Randy. He took us on after Randy’s stoke, so he really didn’t know where he could go with it or what was going to happen with it, but just on the fact that he believed in him.
“It’s the same with Zach [Farnum],” Mary adds. “He was a natural fit. He was young so he brought a fresh breath and knew more about what was going on now. It’s a blessing. We went through something where a lot of the world walked out on us. Most of those are the people who you thought would be there. But what happened is a lot of people walked in that we had no idea would be such a blessing. They did re-create and bring back to life a career that deserved another sunrise.”
Of the many projects Randy’s team has executed is the re-issue of his Storms of Life album. The album, originally released in 1986, served as a turning point back towards more traditional sounding country music when the genre was experiencing a wave of more polished and pop material.
“That album was pivotal,” Mary says. “Good ole country music, that was Randy’s forté. Storms of Life changed lives; the listener’s and Randy’s. It was important to acknowledge it.”
Along with “Diggin’ Up Bones” and “On The Other Hand”, which originally catapulted to No. 1 on the charts in 1986, this remastering also includes three previously unreleased songs from The Vault. “Ain’t No Use,” “The Wall” and “Carryin’ Fire” were recorded 1985, but never found a place on the original 10-song album.
Randy and Mary worked with producer and engineers Kyle Lehning and Keith Stegall, who worked on the 1986 original album, for production on the remastering of the new released version. Lehning has worked with Randy on nearly every album the singer has released.
When asked what working with him again has meant to him, Randy says, “A lot,” with a grin.
“Kyle’s family,” Mary agrees. “Kyle and Randy since day one have had the best artist-producer relationship. I don’t think they’ve had an argument in 35 years. Working with Kyle is always nothing but pure joy.”
A big smile and a laugh came across Randy’s face when asked what he would tell himself if he could go back and talk to the 27 year old who was releasing Storms Of Life in 1986.
“Hold on tight!” Mary suggests. “I don’t think he had any idea it was going to do what it did. I don’t think anybody did.
“I think the older him would say it’s worth the trouble. Keep doing what you’re doing,” Mary sums. Randy smiles and nods in agreement.
And so do we.
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