Country Rewind: Watch Randy Travis Sing ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee’ in Stunning 2003 Performance Video

by Jim Casey
(Photo by Steve Snowden/Getty Images)

Randy Travis treated his fans to a beautiful performance of the gospel classic, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” in 2003.

The list of country artists who have recorded “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” reads like a roster of Hall of Fame members. From Red Foley in 1950 and Patsy Cline in 1960 to Glen Campbell in 2004 and Charley Pride in 2006, the song has been recorded by a regular who’s who of country A-listers. In addition, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Charlie Daniels, and more have recorded the spiritual hymn.

Randy Travis Makes a Gospel Stand

Randy dominated the country charts in the 1980s and 1990s with hits “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Whisper My Name,” and more. But Randy shifted gears for the new millennium.

Beginning with Inspirational Journey in 2000, Randy released a string of gospel/inspirational albums. Rise and Shine (2002), Worship & Faith (2003), Passing Through (2004), Glory Train (2005), and Songs of the Season (2007) followed. While Passing Through veered toward Randy’s traditional country stylings, he really didn’t get back to his mainstream country sound until 2008’s Around the Bend.

Of course, “Three Wooden Crosses,” which was featured on Rise and Shine, had plenty of mainstream success. The tune reached No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and won Song of the Year at the 2003 CMA Awards.

In addition, the critics loved Randy’s shift to gospel/inspirational music. He won numerous GMA Dove Awards, as well as three Grammy Awards for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Album in 2003, 2005, and 2007.

Watch ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee’

Randy’s 2003 album, Worship & Faith, featured a 20-song collection of beloved worship standards, including “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”

Watch Randy’s “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” performance clip from 2003. The Country Music Hall of Fame member lends his distinctive baritone to the tune. And if you stick around until the end of the clip, you can hear Randy tells a rather humorous anecdote. We won’t spoil it.