Randy Travis sings during Country Music Hall of Fame induction – The Tennessean
The Country Music Hall of Fame inducts the Class of 2016.
Larry McCormack / The Tennessean
Randy Travis sang again on Sunday â just after Garth Brooks inducted him into The Country Music Hall of Fame.
Travis nearly died in 2013 when he suffered a life-threatening stoke as the result of a viral infection in his heart. Doctors had little hope for survival, but today, Travis is able to walk, and heâs working to improve his speech. He canât yet speak sentences, but he can sing âAmazing Grace.â Travisâ wife Mary Davis-Travis asked the guests at the 2016 Medallion Ceremony to stand and sing with Travis. The emotional moment was the highlight of many standout moments from ceremony.
Travis andÂ fellow North Carolina natives Charlie Daniels and Fred Foster were inducted into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday evening in a ceremony at the Hall of Fameâs CMA Theater.
The Country Music Association created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961Â to trumpet the genreâs most beloved members and preserve their legacy. Performers, including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson, sang songs pivotal to the career of each inductee before the men were officially anointed as members.
Randy Travis: Modern Era Artist
Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones thought country music was dying.
Jones sang about it in his famous song âWhoâs Gonna Fill Their Shoes,â said CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Kyle Young. It was 1985 and Jones didnât know it, but Randy Travis was about to stand up and raise his hand.
âRandy Travis was the forefather that kind of laid it down,â Brooks said. âTell me some other artist in some other genre ever in the history of mankind who has taken a format, turned it around back to where it was coming from and made it bigger than it was. Itâs never happened, and it will never happen again.â
Travisâ distinctive baritone, paired with his North Carolina accent and Southern sensibilities, was the recipe that altered the direction of country music. Three decades after Travisâ major label debut album âStorms of Life,â he remains one of country musicâs most beloved and respected artists.
âYou opened the door to a lot of guys and girls who wanted to sing real country music,â Jackson told Travis from the stage. âHe was like Elvis. When he sang, the women were screaming and fainting. And he was singing real country music. When I listen to country music today, I think itâs time for a new Randy Travis to come along.â
Travis was lauded by Jackson, who sang âOn the Other Hand.â Paisley who performed âForever and Ever, Amen.â
âYou were a beacon of light on the radio when you first started, and you are still one of the greatest singers weâve ever had,â Paisley told Travis.
Brooks sang âThree Wooden Crossesâ before officially welcoming Travis as a member.
With help from Davis-Travis and Paisley, Travis climbed the stairs so Brooks could hang the medallion around his neck.
Since Travis still struggles to form words, Davis-Travis spoke on his behalf.
âToday is the greatest day of Randyâs celebrated music career,â she said. âRandy wants to thank you for listening and loving him. Randy stared death in the face, but death blinked. Today, Godâs proof of a miracle stands before you.
âTonight, I want to give back to the voice of Randy Travis. If youâll stand â¦â
Charlie Daniels: Veterans Era Artist
Charlie Daniels was born Charles Edward Daniels on Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, N.C. Growing up, he was musically inspired by church music, local bluegrass bands and Nashvilleâs radio stations that streamed country and R&B music.
Daniels stepped into the spotlight with his self-titled first album in 1971, but it wasnât until 1974âs âFire on the Mountainâ that music fans started to take notice. The album included Danielsâ hits âThe Southâs Gonna Do It Againâ and âLong Haired Country Boy.â
Country singer and fiddle player Charlie Daniels is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Hall.
Karen Grigsby / The Tennessean
Yearwood and Jamey Johnson sang for Daniels, as did Trace Adkins who teamed with virtuoso violinist Andrea Zonn forÂ a memorableÂ version of Danielsâ signature hit âDevil Went Down to Georgia.â
Brenda Lee took the microphone to induct Daniels.
âThe thing I love about Charlie Daniels is that he loves you back,â Lee said. âHe loves the people that work with him, not for him. And most of all, Charlie, he loves America.â
Lee placed the medallion around Danielsâ neck.
âThe grandiose words it would take to adequately describe the mountain of honor Iâm feeling tonight donât exist in my vocabulary,â Daniels said. âA plaque on these walls isnât just another award â¦Â itâs a page in an unending history book. Itâs been a great ride gang. Weâre still in the saddle, and it ainât over by a longshot. Â Long live country music.â
Fred Foster: Non-Performer
Music industry executive Fred Foster gave artists including Parton, Kristofferson and Willie Nelson their entry into country music.
âYou really gave me a shot â¦ and you were a gentleman when Porter Wagoner stole me away,â Parton told Foster before she performed her first hit âDumb Blondeâ in his honor. âYou started my life with my first record.â
Foster started Monument Records and publishing company Combine Music in 1958. He also signed Roy Orbison, whose iconic songs including âOnly the Lonelyâ and âOh, Pretty Womanâ inspired artists ranging from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.
In addition to Partonâs performance, Brandy Clark covered Orbisonâs “Blue Bayou,” whileÂ Kristofferson and harmonica master Charlie McCoy performed âMe and Bobby McGee.â
Vince Gill did the honor of officially inducting Foster into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
âWhen weâre brave enough and have the courage to stand up in front of someone and do this, every one of us needs a champion,â Gill said. âAnd you look at a man like Fred Foster, and heâs been a champion (for singers and musicians) all these years.â
âThis is one of the most unbelievable things thatâs ever happened to me and ever will,â Foster said.
Foster thanked his children and said he hoped âtheyâre a little bit proud of old dad.â
Gill draped the medallion around Fosterâs neck. An emotional FosterÂ picked up the medal, turned it over in his hand and kissed it as he wiped tears from his eyes.
Reach Cindy Watts at 615-664-2227 or email@example.com.
2016 class of Country Music Hall of Fame inductees:
Â Randy Travis: Modern Era Artist
Charlie Daniels: Veterans Era Artist
Fred Foster: Non-Performer