Randy Travis is an American country music legend who released twenty studio albums over a career spanning over three decades. Sixteen of his more than fifty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs reached number one on the chart. Travis’ breakthrough came following the release of the album Storms of Life, which sold more than four million copies.
Despite seeing a decline in chart success in the 1990s, Travis’ popularity never waned. He has sold over 25 million records and won seven Grammy Awards and a host of other awards. Randy was inducted into the County Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Travis suffered a stroke in 2013 which severely affected his ability to speak and sing
In the summer of 2013, Randy Travis suffered viral cardiomyopathy and flatlined, but doctors managed to revive him. However, he remained in a coma and suffered an undetected stroke that came to the doctors’ attention days later.
Travis needed part of his skull removed to create space for the swelling. After five-and-a-half months, Randy left the hospital ready to begin his rehabilitation. Unfortunately, another setback awaited Randy and his wife Mary Davis, who learned that Travis had Aphasia. The condition is common among people recovering from a stroke.
A music degree graduate named Tracy showed up at Travis’ home every day to help him recover his singing ability. She started by teaching him Amazing Grace. It took two months to get Travis to form the letter ‘A’, but after clearing that milestone, the other words came easily.
Some stroke victims such as Travis can recover their singing ability faster than regular speech since different parts of the brain control the two activities. Randy recovered enough to sing a short section of Amazing Grace unassisted during his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Mary Davis said on The Big Interview with Dan Rather:
“We spent probably six hours a day running through that song, trying to get through all four verses and learning the words. I think when I put the microphone in his hand, he became Travis again. It was absolutely beautiful.”
Travis continues to release music and is a popular figure on TikTok
It is unlikely that Travis will recover the baritone vocals that endeared him to the world, but music is still very important in his life. He visits Nashville regularly and randomly attends shows by artists near his home in Tioga, Texas. Mary talked to Saving Country Music about Randy’s love for music:
“He loves the music. We go see people that are playing close by, or wherever we’re passing through. Any time we can hear music, there’s an extra skip in the heart. Of course he loved singing and playing the music, and always will. We love now to go hear other people play music, because the music is his soul. That’s what he gave to the world. And now the world likes to give it back to him.”
In summer 2020, Randy released his first single since suffering a stroke. The song, Fool’s Love Affair, was well-received, earning millions of streams, and dominating radio airwaves. Randy made the song before suffering the stroke, and according to Mary, there are more songs from different times in Randy’s career pending release.
Via TikTok, Randy has found the perfect platform to interact with his fans. Randy enjoys participating in duets with his fans. One of Randy’s sweetest duets came when he joined GB of GBandMe in singing Hank Williams’ Hey Good Lookin’. Randy couldn’t hide his joy singing the lyrics to Hank’s famous single.
Randy also posted a duet with Alexandra Kay, which earned millions of likes. Randy has 1.3 million followers on TikTok.