Randy Travis Was ‘Too Country’ for Labels at First, But Never Thought About Changing His Style
These days, it's easy to look back and laugh at the people who told Randy Travis that his style of music was "too country" to be successful. In 2019, the singer is revered as one of the genre's great neo-traditionalists, who brought country music back to its roots in the late '80s and early '90s. However, at the outset of his career, Travis struggled to gain traction due to the very style that made him so distinctive.
"When I came along and we were trying to attract attention, traditional country was not being sought after by record labels. It wasn't pitched by producers or welcomed by music executives. Everybody wanted 'new country' -- pop-contemporary sounds that to me sounded more like rock-and-roll over a lush orchestral bed," Travis writes in his new memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life.
Despite repeated industry rejections and an increasingly dire financial outlook, Travis never considered going pop. When asked what made him stick to his traditional country guns, Travis' wife Mary has a simple answer.
"Lovin' it!" she says with a smile. "He loved what he was doing, and he wasn't gonna change it. That was his passion, so he kept chasing that dream."
During the early years of his career, Travis worked as a cook at the Nashville Palace, where he sometimes got the chance to jump onstage and perform. "He would have worked at the Nashville Palace for the rest of his life [in order to] get to go and sing periodically -- to take off the apron, put on the jacket and get on that stage," Mary points out.
"He would have done it, because he loved the music," she adds.
Travis' memoir was released on Tuesday (May 14), and is available for purchase on Amazon.
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