Randy Travis Chronicles His Faith, Setbacks and Gratitude in New Autobiography

“Gratitude is to life as a rainbow is to a storm."

Randy Travis Chronicles His Faith, Setbacks and Gratitude in New Autobiography
Randy Travis; Photo courtesy of 117 Entertainment Group

Pick up a copy of Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, the brand-new autobiography of Grand Ole Opry star Randy Travis, and you will no doubt read about many of the people who shaped his life and music – such as Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, and George Jones. Included among those names is Harold Traywick, the singer’s father.

“He was Impactful—good and bad,” Travis told Sounds Like Nashville about the sometimes-volatile relationship between the two. “He insisted I ride horses, sing, and play the guitar—I’m glad he did.  That part seemed to work out! On the other hand, his drinking and carousing with a temper that couldn’t be tempered probably rubbed off on me as an example and that part didn’t work out so well.”

Randy Travis; Cover art courtesy of 117 Entertainment Group
Randy Travis; Cover art courtesy of 117 Entertainment Group

Travis retraces his personal – and career – steps in the pages of the book, in which he co-wrote with Ken Abraham. He recalls how much Nashville – now one of the hottest and chic cities in America has changed since he made his first trips here almost four decades ago.

“Nashville was a million miles away from Marshville, NC.  I remembered thinking how BIG it was—and that was the 80’s!  I knew it was where I needed to be if I was going to make a go of it, so we made the leap of faith.  We bought a house on 16th Ave, on Music Row, and I would take a daily jog, as part of my workout ritual, to the other end of 16th where the old Hall of Fame was—I turned my thoughts to a faraway dream—then I turned around and headed home. I guess that turned out, too! I’m so blessed!”

The singer’s faith is on full view in the book, detailing his long road back from a series of health-related setbacks which began in the summer of 2013. Doctors weren’t optimistic the singer would recover or not, but he credits his recuperation to the Man Upstairs.

Randy Travis and wife Mary; Photo courtesy of 117 Entertainment Group
Randy Travis and wife Mary; Photo courtesy of 117 Entertainment Group

“Gratitude is to life as a rainbow is to a storm. It’s our recognition of God’s daily grace and eternal mercies. My voice was God-given—not trained, not earned, not deserved. It is a blessing…and my prayer is that it has blessed, in return, just one person.”

Helping the singer in his walk is his wife, Mary Travis. While there were several tough moments along the way – she reiterates her husband’s sentiments about faith leading them to victory.

“I think a key is believing and trusting in God’s promised faithfulness to our needs and desires. We had a neighbor down the road, Charlie, and he was one who would drop by with food and a good laugh—seems when we needed it most—not sure how he knew, but it was a daily medicine for us both. We never saw some of those we thought we might but sure found out who really cared. Randy and I found something to laugh about every day, no matter how bad the circumstances. And knowing that we had been open and honest through our struggles. Then, there’s my Bible—for strength and understanding, of which I had none on some days. Randy, oddly enough, was one of my greatest sources of strength—he always had that RT smile…each morning and every night…no matter what we were going through—he kept me above ground!”

There are also plenty of stories about his hits – which began in 1986 with the honky-tonk anthem “1982.” In a career that has seen three CMA Song of the Year winners (“On The Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” and “Three Wooden Crosses”), one song that made a significant impact on Mary wasn’t necessarily his biggest. When asked about her favorite song of her husband’s, she said “Are We In Trouble Now.” “It’s a true love song that describes our relationship and was the one he was going to sing to me at our wedding.  The stroke disallowed it, but we still listen to that song, hold hands, and sing it to each other. It was a song that was so overlooked…the lyrics, the melody, the instrumentals…and, Lord, the vocal!!!” The song, written by Dire Straits legend Mark Knopfler, hit No. 24 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1996.

Fans will have several opportunities to meet the Country Music Hall of Fame member during the upcoming CMA Music Festival. His schedule this week is as follows:


11-1: Meet and greet at Randy Travis booth


Close Up Stage interview with Mary, Randy, and Ken. 12:15-1:15

Meet and greet at Jesus Calling booth after interview

3:00 meet and greet at Randy Travis booth


1 PM – Signing at Barnes & Noble

Location: 1701 Mallory Lane. Brentwood, TN.

3pm meet and greet at CMA fest Randy Travis booth


11-1 meet and greet at Randy Travis booth