GRAMMY-winning country artist Randy Travis was the featured guest for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Taking place inside the intimate Clive Davis Theater, Travis discussed his most recent album, Anniversary Celebration, and working with fellow GRAMMY winner Alan Jackson and Jamey Johnson. Travis also performed a brief set including hits such as "Forever And Ever, Amen"; "Three Wooden Crosses"; and "On The Other Hand."
"We started a song and the next morning we finished it," said Travis regarding the recording of his 1990 hit "A Few Ole Country Boys" with Johnson. "He's a great writer [and] a great craftsman. He knows when songs are going in the right direction. … He did something there that's really tough to do. You can't always take a song that you've … been listening to for years and make it yours. But he sure did."
Born Randy Bruce Traywick in Marshville, N.C., Travis landed a recording contract in 1978 with Paula Records and the following year released two singles, including "She's My Woman." Travis moved to Nashville and independently released his debut album, Randy Ray Live, under the name Randy Ray. Three years later Travis signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records and changed his performing name to Randy Travis. His first pair of singles with the label, "On The Other Hand" and "1982," shot to the Top 10 on Billboard's Country Singles chart, with the former reaching No. 1.
Travis' full length debut, Storms Of Life, was released in 1986 and sold more than 3 million copies. The album reached No. 1 on the Country Albums chart and spawned two additional Top 5 singles, "Diggin' Up Bones" and "No Place Like Home," the former of which earned Travis his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Vocal Solo Performance, Male. Always & Forever was released in 1987, topping the Country Albums chart and reaching No. 19 on the Billboard 200. The album earned a GRAMMY for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male; spawned three No. 1 Country Singles in "Forever And Ever, Amen," "I Won't Need You Anymore (Always And Forever)" and "Too Gone Too Long"; and marked the beginning of a streak of eight consecutive No. 1 singles for Travis.
Released in 1988, Old 8x10 topped the Country Albums chart, earned Travis a second consecutive GRAMMY for Best Country Solo Vocal Performance, Male, and produced the No. 1 Country Single "Is It Still Over." In 1989 Travis released No Holdin' Back, marking his fifth consecutive No. 1 album on the country charts. The album spawned three Top 5 Country Singles: "It's Just A Matter Of Time," "Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart" and "He Walked On Water."
Travis went on to have continued success on the Country Albums chart, releasing several additional Top 10 albums, including Heroes And Friends (1990), which featured the original recording of "A Few Ole Country Boys" with George Jones, High Lonesome (1991), This Is Me (1994), You And You Alone (1998), Rise And Shine (2002), Worship & Faith (2004), and Around The Bend (2008). Travis' most recent release, 2011's Anniversary Celebration, marked the 25th anniversary of his career with duets with artists including Zac Brown, Don Henley, Jackson, Johnson, James Taylor, and Carrie Underwood, the latter with whom he earned his seventh GRAMMY in 2009 for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for "I Told You So."
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With Jackie DeShannon (Jan. 30) and The Drop: Ruthie Foster (Jan. 31).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.