Randy Travis: Songs That Should’ve Been Singles
The process of choosing a single for radio is often as arduous a task as writing the song. Each month, Sounds Like Nashville will feature a different artist and explore songs from his or her catalogue that we wish made it to radio. Make no mistake, this is no critique of the artist or label, it’s simply a list of songs we love so much that we think deserve to be in the spotlight. This month, we take a closer listen to Randy Travis’ back catalogue and find eight gems that warrant airplay.
“Messin’ with My Mind” — from Storms of Life
On Randy Travis’ 1986 debut studio album Storms of Life, the singer’s traditional flair and sense of humor was introduced to country fans. The tongue-in-cheek “Messin’ with My Mind” has Travis singing of how unbeknownst to him, his lady friend made him the staying kind. “This town was just another place to play / To have some fun and then be on my way / And you were just another way to pass some time / Then you started messin’ with my mind,” he notes. With light clarinet and percussion accompaniment alongside Travis’ smooth vocals, the song is one that sticks with the listener.
“Anything” — from Always & Forever
This sweet sentiment has Travis telling his love that he will do “anything to make you mine.” Whether it’s climbing the highest mountain or swimming the deepest ocean, he’ll make it happen. “Day or night, rain or shine / There ain’t nothin’ I won’t do to get to you,” he croons. It’s hard to argue with a man with this much conviction.
“Card Carryin’ Fool” — from No Holdin’ Back
This fast paced barn burner has Travis crying over a past lover and letting her know the job he’s best suited for is loving her — whether she realizes it or not. The upbeat musical accompaniment makes the listener forget the more somber nature of the breakup as Travis explains all the ways he’s revealed his love when they were together. “I should get a gold watch for all the years I gave / I should get some interest now for all the dues I’ve paid / I don’t know why I love you, it’s just the job I do / I’m your registered, certified, card carryin’ fool,” he sings.
“Oh, What A Time to Be Me” — from High Lonesome
On the old timey “Oh, What A Time to Be Me,” Travis finds himself lending an ear to his girlfriend’s ex. While the man laments about being lonely and missing his lady, Travis is relishing his new courtship. Unable to understand how this man left his woman, Travis tells him that he’s welcome to call anytime he needs while he counts his blessings knowing she is now in his life. A timeless classic, Travis delivers the song impeccably alongside a steady drum beat and horn accompaniment.
“Runaway Train” — from This Is Me
Penned by Larry Gatlin and Jerry Steve Smith, “Runaway Train” has Travis comparing his love to the fast paced vehicle. His booming voice is further accentuated by rousing string accompaniment and rapid fire percussion, which further adds to the power of the couple’s love. “Our love is red-hot, non-stop, all the way to the top,” he belts.
“Gonna Walk That Line” — from This Is Me
Not to be mistaken for Johnny Cash’s 1956 hit “I Walk the Line,” Travis’ slowed ballad has the singer explaining that while he hasn’t often done right in the past he has now turned over a new leaf. “I’m gonna lift that veil, gonna work real hard / Doing anything that you want me to / Baby, I’m gonna walk that line for you,” he promises.
“If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” — from Full Circle
A song that details a bad start to Travis’ day — no hot water, no clean shirts, and traffic — he reasons, “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” A sentiment everyone can relate to, “If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” impresses with a driving guitar part, steady beat and sing along chorus that will have listeners nodding along with a been there, done that mentality.
“I Did My Part” — from You and You Alone
“I Did My Part” has Travis looking back on a life where he did his best and gave his all. Now, he’s left to wonder how his grandchildren will remember him after he’s gone. “Time will tell if I left my mark / But I know full well I did my part,” he sings alongside delicate piano features. Co-written by Don Schlitz and Billy Livsey, the poignant ballad includes Patrick Swayze on background vocals as he and Travis sing triumphantly of looking back on one’s life with no regrets.