Garth Brooks Will Honor Randy Travis at CMT Artist of the Year Awards

by Chris Haney

On Wednesday, Garth Brooks will honor his dear friend and fellow country legend Randy Travis at the CMT Artist of the Year Awards.

Brooks, 59, and Travis, 62, have known each other for years, and are both staples of country music. Travis rose to the top of the Billboard charts in the mid-1980s and didn’t look back. He went on to chart more than 50 singles with 16 of them climbing to No. 1.

Of course, a few years later, Brooks became arguably the biggest country musician in the world. His numerous multi-platinum selling records have allowed him to pass other solo artists like Elvis Presley on the all-time sales list. In fact, he only trails The Beatles in total album sales.

Yet this week isn’t about Garth Brooks, it’s about his longtime friend and country icon Randy Travis. In 2019, Brooks opened up about Travis who sustained permanent damage after having a massive stroke in 2013.

“Randy Travis saved country music, in my opinion,” Brooks said to The Tennessean. “I don’t know of any artist who took a format and turned it 180 [degrees] back to where it came from and made it bigger than it was then.”

Brooks isn’t the only country star to honor Randy Travis this week. Singer Jon Pardi considers Travis to be one of his musical heroes, so CMT asked him to film a tribute at The Nashville Palace. Little did he know that while he performed one of his hero’s songs, Travis and his wife were on the way to meet him. Pardi got emotional when Travis showed up and credited his grandmother for his love of the artist in the touching clip.

Randy Travis’ Wife Reveals ‘Reason People Loved’ Her Husband’s Timeless Music

Earlier this week, Randy Travis and his wife, Mary Travis, spoke to PEOPLE about his career path from catfish cook to country music icon. As a young country musician, Travis struggled to make a name for himself in Nashville.

“The whole industry was inspired because here was a kid from North Carolina with an interesting past who showed up in Nashville and for 10 years knocked on doors and was turned down,” Mary explained.

But Randy Travis kept on knockin’ and his hard work and talent finally paid off. His debut album, Storms of Lifecame out in 1986, and everything changed. His first album went on to sell more than four million copies, and the boy from North Carolina had officially made it.

“Then all of a sudden, everything aligned at the right time and they turned him up on the radio for the next 35 years. His voice and music resonated,” his wife continued. “The reason people loved Randy Travis is because he left a little piece of himself in every one of his songs. Whatever it was you were going through in life, he had a song for you. He made it believable.”