Mark Humphrey / Associated Press
North side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
With a deep, rich baritone voice that sounds as if it had been sliced from an ancient oak tree, Randy Travis helped bring country music back to basics when he starting turning up regularly on country radio in the mid-1980s with impeccably written songs such as “On the Other Hand” and “Forever and Ever, Amen.”
During the height of the “Urban Cowboy” country-pop crossover mania, he brought a “Shucks, ma’am” demeanor and stripped-down sound more in common with celebrated western singers of an earlier age such as Tex Ritter and Red Sovine, making him one of country music’s key new voices of the ’80s. He’d grown up loving music, but also had a wild side that got him into several scrapes with the law before bar owner Lib Hatcher discovered him in a talent contest and took him under her wing, first as his manager and employer, and eventually as his wife.
His straight, traditionalist approach was overshadowed to a large extent in the ’90s with the arrival of multi-platinum pop-country acts such as Garth Brooks and Shania Twain, yet Travis has remained close to country’s roots, whether singing songs of romance such as his 1992 hit “Look Heart, No Hands” or spiritually minded material like “Three Wooden Crosses,” a song that took him back to the top of the country singles chart a decade later.
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