Travis released “One In A Row” last summer
Randy Travis has released his second single since a stroke took his voice in 2013. “Fool’s Love Affair” is a never-before-heard song that was written by SiriusXM host Charlie Monk, Milton Brown and Keith Stegall. The waltz impacts country radio immediately where heavy rotation is requested at country radio. The date also marks the 35th anniversary of the release of his first single, “On The Other Hand,” which marked a new era for country music and shaped the genre in the years to come.
Travis, his wife Mary, Monk, producer Kyle Lehning and publicist Zach Farnum hosted a media conference via Zoom on Tuesday (July 28th) to discuss the track. Monk and Lehning talked about the origins of the song and how it finally got a release thirty-five years later, after Monk thought he lost the multi-track recording of the demo. However, he found it after clearing his Music Row office building as he rummaged through the contents that were being donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
“I was fumbling through one of the boxes my daughter Capucine had brought to the house, and it fell over, and I looked down there and on the big four inch box, the title ‘Fool’s Love Affair’ was on it,” Monk shares. “It wasn’t a Randy Travis box because we’d done other demos that day, [of] a couple of girls and stuff, which we later found out. But as [wife of 61 years] Mary and I talked about it, it was God putting a hand on that box in some way because the next day, it was about to walk out of my house and go to the Hall of Fame and I would have never seen it again. And that was the multi track, to make a long story short.”
“Charlie brought me the multi-track and I took it over to [Grammy Award-winning engineer] Reed Shippen, who’s a buddy of mine and has a great studio in the neighborhood that I live in,” Lehning states. “He has sort of a restoration company, too, as part of what he does. They bake the tape, cause you know the oxide will come off. So he baked it and transferred it to Pro Tools, and so the Pro Tools transfer was the first time I actually heard the multi-track of the recording. It was recorded very well. Everything was done professionally and it was really cool. All of the instruments – the drums, the bass, the keyboards, there was acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and there were even background vocals on it – which was interesting for a demo, it was pretty far along. So all I actually did was took the multi-track and added Randy’s longtime steel player, Steve Henson, who also played electric guitar on it, and a fiddle player named Larry Franklin played fiddle. And that’s really all I did to it to sort of take it from a demo to something that felt like a finished record, and of course I mixed it and then we mastered it. Randy’s vocal was really good.”
Our own Matt Bailey asked Mary and Randy if they had any say in the final product. “Just our approval of it,” Mary shares with a laugh.
Travis has had an undeniable impact on the genre. He is one of country’s neo-traditionalists and has inspired superstars such as Garth Brooks, Mick Jagger, and others.
“Think about it: when is there ever, in any format, an artist that has come on the scene that has turned a format 180 degrees from where it’s heading, back and made it bigger than it ever was? That’s impossible. I’ve only known it to happen once ever, and Travis would be the name that I’d stick on it,” Brooks told Rolling Stone in 2017.
Last summer, Travis released “One In A Row” that was recorded years before the stroke but never widely released to audiences. It showcases Travis’ deep, velvety smooth, signature tone with the traditional country sound that has been a cornerstone of his career since 1986.
“Traditional country music was all I wanted to do — it’s all I knew how to do,” Travis shares in his memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, which was released last year and topped Book Authority’s 82 Best Country Music Books of All Time list earlier this year.
Travis’ memoir takes readers behind the music, with candid, never-before-told details, of his troubled youth full of drinking and stealing cars, a tense relationship with his father and the roller coaster ride of more than 40 years in the music and acting industry. With the help of New York Times Best-Selling Author, Ken Abraham, and Travis’ wife Mary, this memoir recounts the singer’s journey of perseverance and redemption from his early childhood memories up until the book was penned, recovering from a life-changing stroke and painful divorce, enjoying the life he was given and learning to “sing a new song.”
With lifetime sales in excess of 25 million, Travis is one of the biggest multi-genre record sellers of all time and a recent inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame class of 2016. His honors include seven Grammy Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music statuettes, ten American Music Awards, two People’s Choice awards, seven Music City News awards, eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association and five Country Music Association honors. In addition, three of his performances earned CMA Song of the Year honors: “On the Other Hand” (1986), “Forever and Ever Amen” (1987) and “Three Wooden Crosses” (2002).
To date, he has 22 No. 1 singles, 31 Top 10 smashes and more than 40 appearances in feature films and television shows to his credit. He has four gold, four platinum, one double platinum, one triple platinum and one quintuple platinum albums.
In 2004, Travis was honored with his own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is honored on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville, TN. He has been a member of the cast of the Grand Ole Opry since 1986. In 2017, he was honored with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Nashville.
Since his near fatal stroke in 2013, with the help of his wife Mary and rigorous physical therapy, the country superstar continues to make improvements in his speaking, walking, and yes, singing.