Very few artists have had the impact that changed country music like [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Randy Travis[/lastfm] had in 1985. At that time country music on the radio and in Nashville was a mix of styles all pointing toward a more pop style that had nothing to do with country.
When Randy came along I was in Los Angeles at the big country station there and here came this 25 year old fella’ that was a polite mix of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Hank Williams[/lastfm], ahem Senior, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Jones[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Lefty Frizzel[/lastfm] and his music sounded like he’d just left a writing session with them.
His first song went to 67 on the charts called “On The Other Hand” but his second song went Top 10 called “1982″ and then when Warner Brothers re-released “On the Other Hand” it became his first number one song.
His first album was called Storms of Life and to me has always been the album to compare true country music to for authenticity. Here was this 25 year old kid with real country songs mixed and sung exactly the way they should have been done. Included in this great collection was a song called “Reasons I Cheat.” It is as lonely and as broke down a song as you’ll ever hear. And when you consider he was only 25 at the time, yet he sings it like he’s on the back end of his fifties, you realize what masterpiece of a song and performance this tune is.
The album closes with a fitting tune called “There’ll Always be A Honky Tonk Somewhere” with lyrics that go, “There’ll always be a honky tonk somewhere, with a jukebox in the corner, someone cryin’ in their beer, and one ol’ hanger on ‘er and a lady lookin’ lonely from a losin’ love affair…’
And wherever that place is, if Randy Travis is singin’ that’s where I want to be.