Country Star Randy Travis graces Glens Falls for an Intimate Afternoon
On Saturday, audiences in Glens Falls were treated to an intimate afternoon with country music legend and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Randy Travis. In his Up Close and Personal interview-performance series, our own local and well-recognized radio personality, Kevin Richards of 100.9 The Cat and 97.9 Big Country, was the host and emcee of this dialogue.
There were two sold-out conversations (of which I attended the first one) with Randy and his wife, Mary Davis, offering a deep look into the life and discography of the legend. Assuming both shows followed the same format, we were led in a Randy Travis sing-a-long by Richie Phillips and Mark Pierre as a warm-up. They made us laugh with “Puttin’ Up Cones,” a cheeky parody of Travis’s hit “Diggin’ Up Bones, ” which took aim at DOT. “Yeah, I’m sitting on the Northway / In a slow construction zone / DOT cousin’ the traffic / puttin’ up cones.” (I don’t remember the actual lyrics they used, but you get the jist.)
In 2013, Travis suffered a massive stroke from viral cardiomyopathy. While he was able to relearn how to sing, write, and play, ultimately, he felt his illness had caused too much damage, and sadly retired from singing and playing, which limits his talking. Mary was there by his side to aid in the answer to every question. But together, they conveyed so much of his career, how important their faith was in his recovery, and all the ways they found this struggle a blessing.
To take up some of the musical slack, between slices of the Q&A, New England-based country music duo Martin & Kelly beautifully performed some of his greatest hits while Davis, Travis, and Richard watched from cozy, comfy armchairs stage left. These two are certainly in the right genre, with vocal talents to rival Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (as she showed by acting as Underwood’s part in “Is it Still Over”) and dressed the part with rhinestone-adorned eyelashes, silver cowboy boots, and floral pattern-stitched suit jackets.
The show was unexpectedly cut in half by the fire alarm going off and the subsequent evacuation into the humidity as we waited for the staff of the GF Fire Department to do a sweep. Never before have I been asked to take a photo of a legend in front of a dumpster as we waited for the all-clear, but here we are. But we were back in the cool air shortly, and we all had a laugh and were grateful to the amazing staff of the Wood Theater who made sure we evacuated smoothly. We had just as nice of a laugh as we watched Travis’ old Coca-Cola commercial from the start of the 1990s.
Most important to them were the talks of their new foundation, the Randy Travis Foundation, with a goal of raising awareness of viral cardiomyopathy, working with organizations for stroke rehabilitation, and providing music & arts enrichment opportunities for children. A surprise check of $5,000 from an anonymous donor was presented to them, and the appreciation that Mary and Randy felt cannot be understated. They were clearly and rightfully emotional at this benevolent gesture.
To close out the afternoon, we were treated to hearing Randy sing and lead us in Amazing Grace, a fitting end to an afternoon of quality country music and conversation.