Randy Travis Autobiography

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Synchro, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I just finished reading Forever and Ever, Amen; the autobiography of Randy Travis. I had been aware that he had a stroke, but had no idea of how severe it had been. He was a fit man and took good care of himself, but developed viral cardiomyopathy which led to a massive stroke.

    His entire story is amazing. He was raised around music and had an obvious talent from early on. He began his professional career when most Country was heavily Pop influenced. He was turned down by pretty much everyone in the industry, usually for being "too Country", but he persevered and eventually got his break. Before reading this, I had not realized just how rapidly he went from obscurity to stardom. He struggled for many years to be recognized, but when success finally came his way, it was quite sudden.

    Like many performers in Country, he all but lived on the road. The amount of touring he did was almost painful to read about. In my younger years, I might have been willing to tour, but it sounds like living hell to me, these days. But Travis toured and seemed to like it more than many of his colleagues. Once he started having hits, he really worked to make the most of it.

    One thing that came through strongly is his humility and appreciation for his fans, and for other musicians. He mentioned a lot of people and sought to portray them in the most generous of terms. He mentioned one musician negatively, but didn't name names. He told the story of his first marriage and, to be honest, I think he went easy on her. He definitely didn't come across as egocentric.

    The after effects of his stroke were devastating. Imagine being one of the most famous voices in music, and then not being able to speak. He has a degree of both aphasia and apraxia. Aphasia affects his ability to formulate words, possibly to comprehend the spoken word, to read, write or communicate normally. Apraxia is more related to difficulties in the physical aspect of speaking, just like a tremor in your hand would affect your handwriting, movement difficulties could inhibit your ability to form words. Interestingly, he is able to mouth some lyrics, with difficulty, but it would be all but impossible for him to learn lyrics to a new song, because he would have to put thoughts into words, anew. IOW, if he had said something before his stroke (such as memorized lyrics), it might be possible for him to say it again, but the process of converting new thoughts into words is much more difficult. Most of the time, he says yeah, or no, and that's about it. However, his ability to understand others and to be aware of the conversation around him seems to be unimpaired.

    The book was obviously written with the help of someone else. The same aphasia that prevents speech would also prevent complex writing. Apparently, the process of writing the book took quite a while, but I must say it worked splendidly. It does not come off as a ghost-written autobiography in any way shape or form. These are Randy Travis' thoughts and the consistency and sincerity of this book are obvious.

    He is also honest about his shortcomings, including alcohol problems at two different times in his life. There are some foolish things he did, and an episode when he drank after taking Ambien and ended up in a very bad way. Never did he try to sweep such things under the rug. Once again, I see this as evidence of his obvious direct influence in the book, in spite of his handicaps with regard to communication. Travis' truthfulness outweighed everything else.

    My greatest takeaway would have to be the respect he shows for others. I touched on it earlier, but I feel that it merits a bit more attention. His comments on other musicians are very positive. He seemed to have a good word for pretty much anyone he mentioned by name. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is the fact that his words seem very sincere. He's not kissing up to anyone and it doesn't come across as flattery, but he seems to have a gift for seeing the best in others.

    The book reads as a very cogent narrative, and he got his thoughts across to the writer that assisted him, but at the very end, I came to realize that communicating this story had to have been a herculean task. Perhaps, of all his amazing songwriting and recorded output, this book stands out in my mind, because of the effort required to have written it.

    Highly recommended.
     
  2. JAP09

    JAP09 Electromatic

    67
    Nov 12, 2019
    Atlanta, Ga
    What a great and thoughtful review. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective on it! I’ll definitely be giving this a read.
     
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  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, and I think that every time someone buys that book, it sends a message of support to its author. He Is obviously a strong person, at heart and it has to gratify him that people are hearing his message.
     
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  4. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    @Synchro That was a very enjoyable post to read, thank you.

    This is in my music on my phone.

     
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  5. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    There's no song that moves me more than " Walked on Water " that reminds me of my grandfather . Most members here may remember how close I was to my grandfather too from my past stories / post's . An amazing talented performer . I've always had much respect for Randy Travis
     
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  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Amazingly, The Box played out in Travis’ life. His father was a hard drinking troublemaker and not so,done you’d think of as sentimental. After he died, they went through his belongings and found a very impressive scrapbook of Randy Travis memorabilia. He had followed his son’s career and kept articles, etc.

    He tells a bit about that song in the book. It had roots in his relationship with his own grandfather.
     
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  7. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Nice to know .
     
  8. larryr

    larryr Gretschie

    477
    Mar 6, 2012
    Camarillo, Ca.
    Thank you. Musician autobiographies are my favorite read. I will check this out based on your great review.
     
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  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I'm sure you'll love it.
     
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  10. johnny g

    johnny g Country Gent

    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    Thanks for your great review Synchro. Randy is a great singer and not a bad guitar picker. Hope he can make a complete come back.
     
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  11. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Synchromatic

    950
    Mar 20, 2010
    Michigan
    What stands out for me was seeing him in a restaurant before one of his shows on the road. My wife was the big fan, at least until we met him, then we all thought the world of him.

    My wife asked him to join us since he was eating alone. He looked almost embarrassed, and said are you sure? We had our three kids with us, and they were 2, 6, and 8 at the time. He was so kind to them, my daughter drew a picture of him, and he autographed it for her. At first he said he didn't want to spoil the picture by signing it, but when he saw that she looked deflated, he said, sure little lady. We hope and pray that he recovers. He seemed to enjoy spending time with an average family.
     
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  12. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Wow, that's a cool story. I always liked him and thought he seemed like a real guy, glad it wasn't just a show.
     
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  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    From what I understand, he is progressing, but probably will never fully recover. I saw what appeared to be a recent picture of him holding a guitar. He had a thumb pick in place, so maybe that is helping His left hand is not impaired, but he has a hard time striking the strings.

    The post-stroke photos seem to reveal a man that has made peace with his recovery. The smiles don’t appear forced; I think he enjoys life, even though he’s had some tough breaks.

    The word that comes to mind is respect. I have to truly respect the man for fighting back, cheating death twice and making peace with his losses. It’s easy to lose sight of the human behind the image. Randy Travis definitely had an image, but apparently he never lost sight of who he was at heart.

    I just wish him the best. He’s a fine example of how to face adversity with courage.
     
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  14. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    941
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Randy Travis, Garth brooks, Alan Jackson and all that were the guys that my dad listened to when I was growing up, I can;t say I was a big fan but know who he is, it sounds like a great read and he really does sound like a stand up guys, fully appreciate and have a massive amount of respect to the people who go through the worst but just keep pushing and are so determined to make it, he is really inspiring.

    I always remember him in Blackdog, was one of my dads favorite movies given he was a truck driver.
     
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