Randy Travis Explains How He Learned to Sing Again

The icon overcame a stroke to sing at his Country Music Hall of Fame induction in 2016.

Written by Chris Parton
Randy Travis Explains How He Learned to Sing Again
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 13: Randy Travis and Mary Davis attend the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Music City Center on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage,)

Randy Travis and his wife Mary tell an “amazing” story on a new episode of The Big Interview With Dan Rather, opening up about the country star’s recovery from a devastating stroke.

After suffering a massive stroke in 2013 which robbed the baritone-singing icon of his voice and motor functions, the future seemed dark and silent for both him, and his wife, Mary. But as Mary tells the show, her husband is a fighter. Even though he couldn’t talk — let alone sing — Travis willed himself to re-learn music and get back onstage. He eventually stunned the world during his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, singing a short section of “Amazing Grace” unassisted. But if not for one dedicated speech therapist, it may not have happened. With Randy Travis by her side, Mary told the moving story of how her husband found his voice again.

“That’s where a little girl named Tracy, who had a music degree, would come in on her lunch hour, bring her keyboard and started teaching Randy melody and song again,” Mary said. “She started teaching him ‘Amazing Grace’… and the words all came back to him.”

It took two whole months just to teach Travis to form the letter, “A,” Mary went on. But then the progress picked up. Eventually, the “Forever and Ever, Amen” singer could make his way through “Amazing Grace” on his own. And when Travis finally made it through the Hall of Fame performance, he began to feel like himself again.


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“We spent probably six hours a day running through that song,” Mary went on, “trying to get through all four verses and learning the words. … I think when I put that microphone in his hand, he became Randy Travis again. It was absolutely beautiful.”

Travis is not able to record new music yet, but he’s still releasing unheard material from earlier in his career. In July of 2020 he unveiled “Fool’s Love Affair,” and fans can watch the whole episode of The Big Interview With Dan Rather Wednesday, January 27 at 8p.m. ET/7p.m. CT, only on AXS TV.