The documentary about Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Travis originally premiered on Circle Network as a concert special in 2011 to honour the 25th anniversary of Travis’ album Storms of Life. After a near-fatal illness, the special moved beyond just a concert film to the telling of the story of the artist’s life and recovery.
During the final stages of the concert special in 2013, Travis became ill and suffered a near-fatal stroke. He was hospitalized and had to undergo emergency surgery. After the stroke he was unable to perform and his speech was severely limited due to aphasia.
Travis came to Nashville in 1982 at the height of what we used to call “the Urban Cowboy era” when country music was very pop, said music historian Robert Oermann. The culture, fashion and music in the United States was heavily influenced by the film Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta. Travis’ style was a more traditional sounding, classic country music, which was beginning to fade into the background.
Randy Ray, a catfish cook down at the Nashville Palace whose music no one wanted to listen to, became an acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor. Three of the gospel and country singer’s performances earned Country Music Awards as Song of the Year: On the Other Hand (1986), Forever and Ever Amen (1987) and Three Wooden Crosses (2002).
To date he’s had 23 No. 1 singles, 31 top-10 smashes, a long list of music awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is honoured on the Music City Walk of Fame in the country music global capital, Nashville, Tennessee. He even has a wax figure at Madame Tussauds™ Nashville.
Travis continues to improve his speaking, walking and singing and in episode one, we see him out of his wheelchair, walking onto the stage with his wife Mary to the applause of a welcoming crowd.
Directed and produced by Shaun Silva and Tacklebox Films with WMN’s Shane Tarleton and Mike Dupree serving as executive producers, the film touches on Travis’ storied career, includes scenes from his final professionally-filmed live performance and anecdotes about his inspiring life — which he’s had more of.
Find out what he did with “more life” in the seven-part docuseries that began April 14. One episode is released every two weeks (April 28, May 12 … ) until July 7 on Travis’ YouTube channel and on iTunes.
by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird