Sometimes, life will give us grapes while at times, it may give us lemons. Life is never perfect and so it will never be fair. Randy Travis is a proof and a living testimony to this. It is not unknown to many about Travis’ rise to stardom and the incident that plagued him in 2013. Through it all, Travis stood out against all the odds and fought back. Together with his wife, Mary, they have championed the hearts of many people. He is still standing and continuing his passion and love for country music up to now.
Here is a backtrack of the highlights of Travis’ life through the years. The list may go on but this article features something that we can learn from the country music icon.
Randy Travis Through the Years
A North Carolinian native, Randy Bruce Traywick or popularly known as Randy Travis was born on May 4, 1959. Randy Travis endured a difficult childhood — but he found his salvation through music. His parents were very supportive and their encouragement led Travis to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In his teenage years, Randy and his brother, Ricky, collaborated and made their own duo as the Traywick Brothers. Together, they performed around town and would usually be watched by many folks. However, despite their popularity, the brothers often stayed on the wrong side of the law. While his brother is in jail, Randy won a talent contest at a nightclub in Charlotte in 1975. Elizabeth “Lib” Hatcher, the club’s owner, offered Randy a regular performance slot at the bar. In addition, she also offered him to be a cook, and she became his manager.
In 1978, Randy Travis released his self-titled debut album, Randy Traywick, under Paula Records. Unfortunately, it failed to produce any hit singles. In 1982, Travis then moved to Nashville together with Hatcher. Travis and Hatcher have been dating and living together during that time. His move earned him the attention of the Warner Bros. Under the Warner Bros., he used the name Randy Travis and released his album, Storms of Life, in 1986.
His albums, Storms of Life, gave Travis a series of hits. Throughout his 30-year career, Travis has sold over 25 million records. In addition, he won various awards. These include a number of no. 1 albums and singles and six Grammy Awards. He won the hearts of many fans with his outstanding vocals and overall talent. Since 1986, Travis is a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Travis is not just all about singing. In addition to his music, Travis has ventured into acting and has starred in a series of films like A Holiday to Remember, The Rainmaker and Baby Geniuses, among others. To note, he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
As the second millennium commenced, Travis saw light to his career. He then focused on pursuing gospel music. However, just like many others, his has undergone unstable circumstances. He faced personal, legal, and health issues. In 2010, he and Hatcher divorced. In the following year, he was arrested many times. On July 7, 2013, Travis was brought to the hospital due to complications of viral cardiomyopathy. While in the hospital, he suffered from a stroke, an incident that shocked the whole country music industry.
Since his stroke, Travis has been largely unable to speak or sing. However, Travis surprised many when he sang “Amazing Grace” at the Country Music Hall of Fame during his induction in 2016.
Incident That Almost Took His Life
2013 was the year when a news shocked the whole country music industry. Country music legend Randy Travis was brought to the hospital due to complications of viral cardiomyopathy. Although it was initially announced as pneumonia, Mary, Travis’ wife, cleared that it was cardiomyopathy that weakened her husband.
While he was in the hospital, Travis suffered a massive stroke. He then had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Following his stroke, he was in a coma. As many people including the doctors believed that there’s no hope, Mary didn’t lose hers and stood up for her husband. Fortunately, her decision saved the life of the country legend.
It was not until he came out of a coma days later that doctors realized he had suffered a stroke. Emotional Mary recalled being told that life-saving surgery would be required. And even with an operation, Travis had only a 1 to 2% chance of survival.
“At this point, the 1 to 2% chance is 100% chance over zero. I prayed hard, ‘God, please let me have him back, any way, shape or form.'”
Travis eventually recovered, and he has undergone therapy for his recovery. Despite physical therapy, he has had difficulty with his speech; he was unable to speak or sing. For more than a year, he had to rely on a cane to walk. By November 2014, slowly, he was recovering and could walk short distances without any assistance. According to his wife, Mary, he was also relearning how to write and play the guitar.
In an interview with Life Today, Travis and his wife revealed that his heart is in “near perfect” condition after the complications which led to his stroke. Moreover, Travis is a fighter. He is starting to relearn speech and walking stronger. His recovery is fast, a result his doctors initially viewed as almost impossible.
Mary then explained,
“It got to the point where they had given up hope, but the beautiful thing was, Randy… Randy and God have this thing going on. He’s so brave, so courageous. He never once gave up.”
Interestingly, when Travis is asked about his willingness to do music again, he favorably and strongly answers “YES!”
And on October 16, 2016, Randy and Mary Travis attended the Country Music Hall of Fame for Randy’s induction. Travis surprised everyone when he performed a duet with his wife singing “Amazing Grace.”
Watch as Randy Travis and wife, Mary, sing “Amazing Grace“ at the Country Hall of Fame.
(Source: abc NEWS/youtube.com)
Randy’s Recovery: An Inspiring Story
The road to Randy’s recovery from stroke was of no laughing matter. He and his wife, Mary, have undergone some difficult times. There were ups and downs; there were difficulties. Despite these, Randy’s recovery is truly an inspiring story to tell.
The country music community has shown their appreciation towards both the couple after the devastating stroke that plagued the singer in 2013. An interview has it that the couple is becoming positive and moving in a new direction for the singer.
The Travis couple is celebrating a major milestone in Randy’s recovery. In an interview with CNN, the country icon and his wife shared a huge step forward of Randy’s condition following their recent road trip back to Nashville.
On the road to Nashville from Memphis, Mary recalled,
“overhead was a sign, ‘Nashville,’ and he was over in the passenger seat and went, ‘Woo-hoo,’ and he pointed up, and he said, ‘Nashville.'”
“I just sat over there in the driver’s seat and cried because I knew then that he read that sign, and he recognized the word, and then he said it. That’s a huge thing.”
For quite some time following his stroke, Randy was unable to listen to his own music. And it had been really difficult for him. Mary shared about this to CNN.
“When I first put his music on, he cried.”
While on his way to full recovery, Randy has been listening to gospel music and some of his own hits. In addition, he is even very enthusiastic about the possibility of recording new music some day.
“Music is his soul. And the possibility of another stroke doesn’t enter our minds. We are onward and upward.”
Since the incident, Randy continues to recover and regain some of his abilities, however slowly, it is for sure. The country legend is still yet to fully grasp back his abilities, but the strength and courage he is showing are bigger than the plague that severed him.
“There is a perfectionist in him that knows he’s not singing exactly like he used to that keeps him from enjoying it like I wish he would. I know the world when they hear him, they can tell it’s Randy Travis, and the more he does it, the better it’s going to get.” — Mary Travis
Watch as Randy Travis opens up three years after stroke almost took his life:
What’s Up for Randy Now?
Still on hiatus with his music career these days, Randy Travis still finds time to support great country music, not just his own.
Earlier this year, he made an appearance unknown to many at Nashville’s weekly all-female songwriters round, Song Suffragettes. Onstage, they welcomed him with a performance of “Forever And Ever, Amen.”
Even though his vocals are not working like they used to do, his ears are well and still the same. He is using his ears to find the best tunes from the genre’s up-and-comers and curating a playlist to share with his fans and followers. In this way, this opportunity does not only support younger and budding artists but it also gives Randy a chance to be heard in a new way.
Mary explains on Randy’s website,
“Though Randy may not be able to perform right now, his love and affinity for music stands strong. We like to say he is ‘singing a new song’ and spending his time giving back to the community and supporting fellow artists — streaming is a great new outlet to do just that.”
Currently, Randy is working with Ken Abraham on a book about his life and career, which Mary has found to be an experience he has thrown himself into.
“I’ve seen Randy become very intrigued while going back in his life, and re-living everything from his early childhood and music in his house to moving to Nashville. There’s also the heroes and friends that he met along the way. I told Ken that Randy had already written his life story, though not on paper. Everyone who knows Randy knows he has had a colorful life. He’s had a tough life at times, but also a beautiful life.”
Mary and her country singer husband are just very thankful for life. They are thankful that life still continues against all odds that they’ve undergone.
Diggin’ Up Song Playlist
Meanwhile, in March this year, Randy announced Diggin’ Up Songs new music spotlight. He is putting his years of experience and golden ear to good use by shining a spotlight on new music he believes in and enjoys listening to. Diggin’ Up Songs new music spotlight is a multi-faceted digital campaign across Spotify, Twitter, Facebook and RandyTravis.com highlighting music curated by Randy Travis himself.
The playlist was named after Travis’ 1986 No. 1 song, “Diggin’ Up Bones,” written by Paul Overstreet, Nat Stuckey and Al Gore (not that Al Gore). His original plan is to create a new playlist that will be released every two weeks.
His Diggin’ Up Songs list is modern, edgy mixed with good old traditional music which includes the first batch of songs like “Heaven” by Kane Brown, Brett Eldredge’s “The Long Way,” Walker Hayes’ “You Broke Up With Me,” Luke Combs’ “One Number Away” and “Doin’ Fine” by Lauren Alaina.
Just last month, Randy again made his picks for his Diggin’ Up Songs playlist. It includes the newly formed country group Sweet Tea Trio. The group was discovered by Kid Rock last year via Youtube. Sweet Tea Trio opened the Kid Rock’s 2018 American Rock n’ Roll Tour. Moreover, they recently released a six song, self-titled EP, which debuted at No. 11 on the iTunes Country chart.
The group shared their gratitude to Travis.
“First off, we’d like to thank the legend himself, Mr. Randy Travis, for choosing us as a part of the ‘Diggin Up Songs’ Spotify playlist! It’s very surreal and emotional to know that such an incredible and influential figure, whose music we grew up on and planted our roots in, likes what we do and the music we make. To us, it’s an honor to receive such a compliment! From ‘Digging Up Bones,’ ‘Look Heart, No Hands’ to ‘Deeper Than The Holler’ and ‘Three Wooden Crosses,’ we are inspired to the core of our hearts by his timeless name and hits. His music is and always will be a part of us and who we are as artists and we have so much respect for his craft and heart!”
Other songs that were included on the Diggin’ Up Songs playlist last month were “Millionaire” by Chris Stapleton, “Get Along” by Kenny Chesney, “The Bull” by Kip Moore, “Rebel Romance” by Sweet Tea Trio, and “Most People Are Good” by Luke Bryan.
Randy Travis has ears that know what country music is. Just recently this month of April, he added again songs and artists to his playlist. Without a doubt, his choices who made the cut are worthwhile.
The week’s that has passed is all about the girls. Randy handpicked country powerhouses which include Carrie Underwood with her new song “Cry Pretty.” Kelsea Ballerini’s “I Hate Love Songs” and newcomer Kalie Shorr’s “Two Hands” also made the cut. Two more songs rounded the playlist. They are Chris Janson’s “Drunk Girl” and “Women, Amen” by Dierks Bentley.
Watch Randy Travis perform his hit, “Diggin Up Bones.”
Randy Travis is indeed a fighter! He may have undergone a near-death experience but he did not let it finish him. His wife, Mary, is his rock. Without her, we could’ve lost one of the greatest country music superstars on this planet. The passion and love of Travis to his music shines through his heart. Had Randy Travis passed, the country music industry would have never been the same.
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Randy Travis, update