Randy Travis is one of the most successful country artists of all time, selling over 25 million records worldwide. He has seven Grammys, 11 CMAs, and ten ACMs to his credit. In 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Randy’s wife, Mary, spoke out about his health after he suffered a major stroke in 2013. He was diagnosed with aphasia, which is a type of brain impairment that causes the inability to interpret or express speech.
Travis, a singer known for his powerful vocals, now has limited speech. “It means a lot to him,” Mary said of the gathering of country stars to recognize his achievements. “I mean, just to know that he made the music that he made and that it stands the test of time.” Randy nodded and grinned in accord as Mary spoke.
“And then to have tributes to you when you can’t sing the music but someone else will come in and step in for you, and some of the great artists who do step in, you know, that say, ‘Hey, I want to be one of those who sings your music’ when they have a whole catalog of their own music.” “But it’s like, ‘I just want to give this time and energy to singing your music because it made a difference in my life,'” she went on.
Travis, who was born in Marshville, North Carolina, in 1959, started singing in church at an early age and learned to play the guitar from his father. Travis traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, after graduating from high school, to pursue a career in music.
In 1985, Travis signed his first record deal with Warner Bros. Records. His debut album, “Storms of Life,” was a financial success when it was released in 1986. The hit songs from the album included “1982,” “On the Other Hand,” and “Diggin’ Up Bones.”
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Travis continued to create popular albums. His albums “Always and Forever” (1987), “No Defense” (1988), and “Full Circle” (1990) all topped the Billboard country charts. During this time, Travis also received multiple honors, including the Grammy Award for Best Country Male Vocal Performance for “Forever and Ever, Amen” in 1988.
Travis had a stroke and congestive heart failure in 2013. During his recovery, he endured surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
“Starting when he was 4 or 5 years old, his daddy had him listen to these songs, and he was playing them,” Mary recalled of her son’s childhood. “This is the essence of country music.” This is the essence of music. It brings out the best in all of us, you know. And just the kindness, tenderness, and heart. It’s all about the heart. As a result, it meant a lot to us. And we can’t thank Tim enough for that brief moment.”
“He’s very faithful,” she explained. “You know, we leaned heavily on God.” It’s hard to think it’s been ten years since the stroke… There are no words to describe it, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for his love and kindness.”
“We want people to understand strokes, stroke rehabilitation, that there is life after stroke,” Mary was quoted as saying by Fox News. “We discovered that, of all the rehab we went through, life is the best rehab.” Simply get out there. Go back to your old routine. The world may wonder why you’re out here, but just go out there and, you know, dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening, and have a good time. It definitely is the most effective therapy.”
“And we want people to understand aphasia because it’s a difficult one… but one in every three stroke patients – I don’t call them victims. I call them survivors, although they are only one out of three. Aphasia has affected you. It could be insignificant. It might be significant. Randy’s is significant due to this side of the brain and the region of the brain that was afflicted. And it was a major stroke because it was detected three days later.”
“Randy may not have been good in English and history and all these other subjects, but dang, where would we be without his music?” she blurted out. “Where would we be if it weren’t for music?” So we want to make sure that the kids that learn from that side of the brain have equal access to academic opportunities.”
Randy Travis is a living legend in country music. He had a long and successful career and impacted many other musicians. He is a role model for aspiring country singers and a fan favorite around the world.