The incredible life and career of Randy Travis is captured in a poignant new documentary, More life, which premiered last night (December 13e) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Travis and his wife Mary participated in a panel discussion just before the screening, which was moderated by Hall of Fame’s Peter Cooper and included A&R Warner Music Nashville executive vice president Cris Lacy, the country music historian Robert K. Oermann, director Shaun Silva and longtime Travis producer Kyle Lehning.
Warner Music Nashville President and CEO John Esposito greeted attendees at the Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater and started the evening by recounting Travis’ tremendous accomplishments. “This year Randy was named the CMT Artist of a Lifetime. . .He has 23 # 1 records, 31 top 10 songs to his credit and he has made four gold albums, four platinum records, one [double] platinum, an album that is three times platinum and one that was five times platinum. It’s damn good, ”smiles Esposito.
“He won seven Grammy Awards, 11 ACM Awards, 10 American Music Awards, eight Dove Awards, five CMA Awards, two People’s Choice Awards. . . Country radio called him the new king of TikTok with nearly 16 million likes and 2.5 million followers. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016 and with 46 television and film appearances Randy has stars both on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and out on the Music City Walk of Fame.
It’s a lot of life to film and Silva does a wonderful job in More life. “We weren’t planning on making a documentary,” Silva said at the roundtable. “It was supposed to be special music for [Travis’ debut album] Storms of Life, turning 25, so when we started over 11 years ago it was like that.
During the panel discussion, Lehning spoke about his work with Travis over the years. “One of the beauties of working with Randy is how clear he was about who he was and what he wanted to do, so my job was just to stay away,” he said.
He also shared an anecdote about Travis’ commitment to real musicians. “I had cut a track and he came to sing it,” he recalls. “He was listening to it and I had programmed the drums on this drum machine. Randy said, ‘Is that the drums on the record?’ I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘Isn’t that a person playing that?’ I said ‘No’ and he said ‘Is that a machine?’ I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘Don’t do this anymore.’ “
During the panel, attendees recalled Travis’ early days working at Nashville Palace where he was in the kitchen frying catfish, then taking the stage to sing, then returning to his chores. food. The panelists remembered the legendary director of Warner Bros. A&R Martha Sharp, who had signed him to the label and current A&R head Lacy, spoke about Travis’ lasting impact on the Warner family. When asked what Warner would be like today without Randy Travis, she replied, “Closed.
“I was thinking of Randy, and I was thinking about this documentary,” she continued. “I listened to his music and It’s a wonderful life has come. It struck me. It’s a George Bailey moment. A world without Randy Travis would have been much different. There wouldn’t be Garth Brooks as you know him and I think he would agree from what I’ve heard him say about his influence. I would venture to assume that they wouldn’t all be the same if they hadn’t grown up on [Randy’s] music and had not been inspired by it. And for Warner right now, we have people on the roster – I told the Opry about it – who wouldn’t have signed to Warner Records if it weren’t for Randy because they wanted to be on the label Randy was on. Cole Swindell said, “I wanted my dad to see this Warner Brothers emblem because he saw it on Randy Travis’ album.” He gave so much when he first released these records and he continues to give. . . This is the house that Randy Travis built. I wouldn’t have a job without him.
Panelists spoke at length about Travis’ music and his ability to create compelling albums. “All of Randy’s albums, when you listen to them, there is one great song after another. There’s no song to throw at any of them because each of them will speak to you, ”his wife Mary told the crowd. “Someone will say, ‘What’s your favorite Randy Travis song? And the answer is, “The last one I heard because there are so many good ones.” That’s what makes Randy Travis, Randy Travis.
Following the screening of the documentary at the Ford Theater, the crowd ascended upstairs to the Hall of Fame rotunda where Randy and Mary visited attendees at a private reception. Mary told SLN they saw pieces of the documentary as it came together, but the Hall of Fame screening was the first time they saw the finished film.
The most heartbreaking parts of the documentary chronicle of Travis’ health crisis and recovery. He was hospitalized in 2013 with cardiomyopathy, then suffered a near-fatal stroke. “It was a revelation for us to understand that God does have a plan and a direction for us,” Mary told SLN. “As much as I questioned him, ‘Why? How did you manage to do this? What he has is a voice and you are going to take it away from him? ‘ It was not God who won. It was cardiomyopathy. It was the hit. That’s all that happened. You can get bitter or better. Randy chose and I chose, we’re going to be better.
Mary and Randy have known each other for 31 years, became a couple in 2010 and married in 2015. She has been by Randy’s side through every stage of his illness and recovery and has seen the impact that his strength and strength have. faith have had on people. “We loved the road. We loved getting on the bus and going from place to place, ”she says of their life before her health deteriorated. “It was a wonderful life, but now to go somewhere and inspire someone not just with your music, but by living – because that was the best therapy we found was to live life – if you can. walking into a room and inspiring someone and being a point of life is Randy Travis.
The documentary includes concert footage filmed before his illness that shows Travis singing some of his best hits, including “Diggin ‘Up Bones”, “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Three Wooden Crosses”. Josh Turner performs with Travis on “TIME”. The documentary also features interviews with Lehning, Sharp, Turner and longtime Travis tour director Jeff Davis.
When asked what he thought viewers would learn about Travis in the documentary, Lehning told SLN, “How seriously he took the music he made, how important it was to. him and it was not a job. It was truly a calling for him. He was steadfast in his approach to what he wanted to do and that was part of what was really attractive about him to people. They felt he was the real deal. He wasn’t just posing as a country singer. It was who he was and who he is. Her voice has a timeless quality.
Mary says the documentary will also show viewers the depth of her faith. “I hope they will learn that he had a lot more faith than they even knew through his songs,” she said. “A Randy song was like opening the Bible just the day you needed to read something or know something or get an answer. It spoke to you.
Silva, who co-produced the project, started working on the documentary over ten years ago. Travis’s performances were filmed in 2012. “There was a big hiatus, waiting to see how things were going,” he says of Travis’s health crisis. “Fortunately, they’ve gone the right way. It was a blessing. Then for me the pressure was to honor him and honor his story, honor his courage and honor the relationship he and Mary have, which is so special. I witnessed it before and after he got sick, and it’s steadfast from the start.
At the time of going to press, distribution plans for the film have yet to be finalized. Travis publicist Zach Farnum said there will be an announcement coming in 2022 to let fans know where they can see More life.
The documentary does a great job of celebrating Travis’ considerable musical legacy and honoring his strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. It also shows his passion for horses and the cowboy lifestyle. “I feel like his music elevated country music. I loved it, ”says Silva. “But when I was growing up, what attracted me to Randy as well was that he was a real cowboy. It wasn’t faking it. We all like to put the hat on, but not all of us live it. . He lives it. It’s true to his way of life. Real cowboys are really tough. He’s always been tough, but we’ve seen his toughness on a whole new level and I think that’s something that we can all learn and admire – his faith, his strength, his courage and the love he has for the industry, for Mary and for his life. There is a lot to say and I am just proud to be associated with that.It’s a dream come true for me to be able to tell this story.