Randy Travis

From New World Encyclopedia

Randy Travis
Randy Travis sings at a salute to Korean War veterans at the MCI Center in Washington, DC, July 26, 2003.
Randy Travis sings at a salute to Korean War veterans at the MCI Center in Washington, DC, July 26, 2003.
Background information
Birth name Randy Bruce Traywick
Born May 4 1959 (1959-05-04) (age 64)
Origin Marshville, North Carolina, USA
Genre(s) Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instrument(s) Vocals
Rhythm guitar
Years active 1985-present
Label(s) Paula
Warner Bros. Nashville
DreamWorks Nashville
Associated acts Alan Jackson
Carrie Underwood
Website www.randy-travis.com

Randy Travis (born Randy Bruce Traywick, May 4, 1959 in Marshville, North Carolina) is an American multiple Grammy- and Dove Award-winning American country singer. Active since 1985, he has recorded more than a dozen studio albums to date, in addition to charting more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which 16 have reached number one.

Travis is considered a pivotal figure in the history of country music, whose distinctive, low-pitched voice and unpretentious style helped establish the neo-traditionalist country genre. His breakthrough 1986 album, Storms of Life, sold more than 3 million copies on the Warner Bros. label and made Travis the first country act in history to achieve multi-platinum status for one album. It was followed by a string of several more platinum (million-selling) and multi-platinum albums throughout his career.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Travis saw decline in his chart success. He left Warner Bros. in 1997 for DreamWorks Records. There, he would eventually switch his focus to gospel music, a change which resulting in another country hit in the number-one "Three Wooden Crosses" and earned him several Dove Awards for outstanding achievements in Christian music.

In addition to singing, Travis holds several acting credits, starting with his television special Wind in the Wire in 1992. Since then, he has appeared in several movie and television roles, occasionally as himself.


Early life

Travis was born in Marshville, North Carolina, the second of six children of Bobbie and Harold Traywick. His mother was a textile worker, and his father was a horse breeder, turkey farmer, and construction business owner. While growing up, Travis was required by his father to take guitar lessons and began performing at the age of eight with his brother, Ricky.

When Randy was 18, his father Harold entered him and Ricky in a talent contest at a nightclub called "Country City, USA" in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, Ricky, who also had brushes with the law, was sentenced to jail and Randy had to complete the contest alone. He won the context anyway, and the club's manager, Elizabeth "Lib" Hatcher, took an interest in him, giving him a job singing at the club. Travis then began focusing on music. In 1981, he first recorded for Paula Records and released two unsuccessful singles—"She's My Woman" and "Dreamin'."

Hatcher eventually left her husband, and in 1982 she and Travis moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Travis' early demo tapes, which hearkened back to earlier and simpler days of country music, were criticized by Nashville record executives as being "too country." Hatcher, meanwhile, took a job as manager of a nightclub, "The Nashville Palace" and hired Travis as a cook and singer. An unlikely romance began to form between the two, with Hatcher being 20 years older than Travis.


In 1982, Travis recorded an independent album Randy Ray Live, and Hatcher used it to secure a deal with Warner Bros. Records. However, the label demanded that the couple keep their romance a secret, so as not to turn away fans. Executives also changed Randy's stage name from Randy Ray to Randy Travis. In 1985, Warner Bros. released Travis' single, "On the Other Hand," which reached number 67 on the country charts. His next single, "1982," became a top-ten hit, followed by the re-release of "On the Other Hand" in 1986. This time the song succeeded in a major way, becoming Travis' first number-one hit.

Travis' debut Warner Bros. album, Storms of Life, went on to sell more than 4 million copies. In the late 1980s, he had a string of hits, including "No Place Like Home" and "Diggin' Up Bones." A song from his next album, "Forever and Ever, Amen," arguably launched the neo-traditionalist country era and boosted the popularity of country music beyond its normal fan base. For two years in a row, Travis won the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, for the albums Always & Forever in 1988 and Old 8x10 in 1989. Always and Forever remained at number one on the country albums chart for 43 weeks.

Travis and Hatcher married in 1991 after a tabloid newspaper spread a rumor that Tavis was gay. In the same year, Travis took part in Voices That Care, a multi-artist project to raise money for the Allied troops in the Gulf War. It included fellow singers Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, and Kathy Mattea.

By 1992, however, Travis was no longer charting high, as high powered acts like Brooks, Clint Black, and others had taken over Nashville. He then took a break from music to concentrate on acting and landed roles in several Western-genre films. He returned to recording with the 1994 album This Is Me and the hit single "Whisper My Name."

In 1997, Travis parted ways with Warner Bros. He moved to DreamWorks Nashville and recorded You and You Alone, which produced the top-ten hits "Out of My Bones" and "Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man." These were followed by Inspirational Journey (2000), Rise and Shine (2002), and Worship and Faith(2003). The single "Three Wooden Crosses" from the Rise and Shine album reached number one and won the Country Music Association's award for song of the year in 2003. That same year, Travis ranked number 13 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. He also continued to act in film and television, appearing on the series finale of Touched by an Angel.

Passing Through, released in November 2004, combined the country music of Travis' earlier years with the gospel themes of more recent albums. After the release of Glory Train in 2005 and the Christmas album Songs of the Season in 2007, Travis released single "Faith in You" as a free download from his official website. It heralded the July 2008 release of Around the Bend.


From a North Carolina boy who started out with rough beginnings, Randy Travis transformed life's challenges into a formidable career, inspired by other rough-cut country icons like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. With a real-life repertoire firmly rooted in life's lessons and singing about traditional themes—faith and hope, broken hearts, and patriotism—Travis' songs resonated with the American experience. This connection played a pivotal role when the singer with his remarkable down-home voice helped bridge the gap between country's original stars to today's megastars.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, country had morphed into superficial, Las Vegas-style entertainment, yet there remained a solid base of die-hard, traditional country fans who longed for the good old days with fiddles, honky tonks, and real-life stories in their music. In fulfilling this need and Travis helped launching the neo-traditionalist era in country music, achieving stunning success with his deep, resonant voice beginning with his breakthrough album, Storms of Life in 1986. This lead to 22 number-one hits, four Grammys, five CMA, nine ACM, 10 AMA, five Dove awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Studio albums

Year Album Label Chart Positions Certifications
US Country US 200 RIAA CRIA
1986 Storms of Life Warner Bros.
1 85 3× Multi-Platinum
1987 Always & Forever 1 19 5× Multi-Platinum 5× Platinum
1988 Old 8x10 1 35 2× Multi-Platinum 2× Platinum
1989 No Holdin' Back 1 33 2× Multi-Platinum
1990 Heroes & Friends 1 31 Platinum Platinum
1991 High Lonesome 3 43 Platinum Gold
1992 Wind in the Wire 24 121
1994 This Is Me 10 59 Gold
1996 Full Circle 9 77
1998 You and You Alone DreamWorks
7 49
1999 A Man Ain't Made of Stone 15 130
2000 Inspirational Journey Word/Warner/Curb 34
2002 Rise and Shine 8 73 Gold
2003 Worship & Faith 9 90 Gold
2004 Passing Through 23 127
2005 Glory Train: Songs of Faith, Worship, and Praise 28 128
2008 Around the Bend 3 14

Live albums

Year Album US Country
2001 Live: It Was Just a Matter of Time 61

Compilation albums

Year Album Chart Positions Certifications
US Country US 200 RIAA
1992 Greatest Hits, Volume 1 14 44 Platinum
Greatest Hits, Volume 2 20 67 Platinum
1995 Forever & Ever... The Best of Randy Travis
1998 Greatest #1 Hits 66
2000 Super Hits
2002 Trail of Memories: The Randy Travis Anthology
2003 The Essential Randy Travis
2004 The Very Best of Randy Travis 10 80
2006 The Platinum Collection

Christmas albums

Year Album Chart Positions Certifications
US Country US 200 RIAA
1989 An Old Time Christmas 13 70 Gold
2007 Songs of the Season 26


  • The Wager (2007)—Michael Steele
  • The Gift: Life Unwrapped (2007)—Ellison
  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)—performs for the President of the United States
  • Lost: A Sheep Story (2006)—Porkchop
  • On the Farm: The Prodigal Pig (2006)—Porkchop
  • The Visitation (2006)—Kyle Sherman
  • Apple Jack (2003)—Narrator
  • The Long Ride Home (2003)—Jack Fowler/Jack Cole
  • The Trial of Old Drum (2002)—Charlie Burden Jr. - old
  • Texas Rangers (2001)—Frank Bones
  • The Cactus Kid (2000)—Pecos Jim
  • John John in the Sky (2000)—John Claiborne
  • The Million Dollar Kid (2000)—Businessman
  • The White River Kid (1999)—Sheriff Becker
  • Baby Geniuses (1999)—Control Room Technician
  • Hey Arnold (1998)—Appears as "Travis Randall"
  • T.N.T. (1998)—Jim
  • Black Dog (1998)—Earl
  • The Rainmaker (1997)—Billy Porter
  • The Shooter (1997)—Kyle
  • Annabelle's Wish (1997)—Adult Billy/Narrator
  • Steel Chariots (1997)—Rev. Wally Jones
  • Fire Down Below (1997)—Ken Adams
  • Boys Will Be Boys (1997)—Lloyd Clauswell
  • Edie & Pen (1996)—Pony Cobb
  • A Holiday to Remember (1995)—Clay Traynor
  • Dead Man's Revenge (1994)—U. S. Marshall
  • Frank & Jesse (1994)—Cole Younger
  • Texas (1994)—Capt. Sam Garner
  • At Risk (1994)—Ellison
  • The Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart (1994)

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Bego, Mark. Country Hunks. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1994. ISBN 9780809236411.
  • Cusic, Don. Randy Travis: King of the New Country Traditionalists. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990. ISBN 9780312044121.
  • Goldsmith, Thomas. "Randy Travis." In The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Paul Kingsbury, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 9780195176087.

External links

All links retrieved December 7, 2022.


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