Singer-songwriter-guitarist and part-time actor Randy Travis was born Randy Bruce Traywick in Marshville, N.C. Considered a pivotal figure in country music history, he’s charted more than 50 tracks on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles charts, over a dozen of which were #1 hits. Several have crossed over to the pop charts, such as “Out of My Bones” (1998), “Spirit of a Boy – Wisdom of a Man” (1999) and “Three Wooden Crosses” (2003).
Randy was playing local clubs at age 14. After recording an unsuccessful first album for Paula Records in 1978 as Randy Traywick, the young baritone adopted “Travis” as his new stage last name and moved to Nashville, where he found work as a cook, dishwasher and occasional vocalist at Lib Hatcher’s Nashville Palace. Randy and Lib eventually married and stayed together for 19 years. She backed his second album, recorded live in her club, which lead to Travis being signed by Warner Brothers Records after every other label in town had turned him down (as “too country”!). Randy’s third LP, “Storms of Life” (1985), went on to sell more than four million copies and established him as a leader in the fast-rising Neotraditional Country movement. Travis would go on to win the Country Music Association’s “Best Male Vocalist” award two years in a row.
As the ‘90s came to a close, Randy left Warner Bros. Records for the DreamWorks label, where his focus shifted from straight country to gospel music for the next decade. This lead to several Dove Awards, including five wins for recording the “Country Album of the Year.” He also tried his hand at acting on TV and in motion pictures and made appearances in such films as “The Rainmaker” (1997) with Matt Damon, “Black Dog” (1998) with Patrick Swayze and “Texas Rangers” (2001) with James Van Der Beek.
In 2013, at the age of 54, Randy Travis suffered a massive stroke which left him unable to sing or speak. At last word he is still slowly recovering and is able to walk short distances without assistance. He has sold over 25 million records, earned 22 #1 country hits, six #1 country albums, six Grammy Awards, six CMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, 10 AMA Awards, eight Dove Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.