Three years after a stroke threatened to silence his legendary voice, country singer Randy Travis brought the audience at Sunday’s Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony to tears by leading a sing-along rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Travis, 57, sang again during the medallion ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., where he was inducted along with fiddler Charlie Daniels and record producer Fred Foster.
Fellow artists — including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks and more — honored the three inductees with musical tributes.
Travis’ wife, Mary Davis-Travis, spoke about the numerous procedures and operations the Grammy-winning singer underwent to save his life and a six-month stay in the hospital after a viral infection caused his 2013 stroke.
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“Randy stared death in the face, but death blinked,” Davis-Travis said. “Today, God’s proof of a miracle stands before you.”
Travis was honored for being the first country artist whose debut album (“Storms of Life”) went platinum in its first year. He ushered in a wave of neo-traditional singers like Alan Jackson, Clint Black and Brooks in the 1990s.
Jackson, who performed “On the Other Hand,” talked about going out on tour with Travis in the early ’90s and compared him to Elvis.
“When he sang, the women were screaming and fainting, and it was crazy,” Jackson said. “I loved it. Someone singing real country music and having that effect and selling all those records, it just made me so happy.”
Daniels, the fiddler player behind the hit song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” was honored for his multi-genre style blending Southern rock, bluegrass, gospel and country music.
“A plaque on this wall is not just another award or accolade,” Daniels said. “It’s a page in a history book. An unending history book.”
Jamey Johnson performed his song “Long Haired Country Boy,” while Trace Adkins performed “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” with fiddler Andrea Zonn.
Foster ran the influential Monument Records, which helped launch the careers of Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson, as well as Parton and Kristofferson. Kristofferson sang his iconic song “Me and Bobby McGee,” which Foster co-wrote and produced, while Parton sang “Dumb Blonde,” from her debut album produced by Foster.
Randy has come so far! It’s a miracle he can even walk let alone sing. God bless you Randy!!