Most people know Randy Travis for his baritone vocals and neotraditional country sound. He dominated the country charts from the mid-eighties until the mid-nineties. Songs like “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “On the Other Hand,” and “Three Wooden Crosses,” are still country favorites. He would probably still be putting out killer country songs today if it weren’t for the stroke that forced him into retirement in 2013. At the same time, Travis had some serious acting talent.
Randy Travis was in several movies and television shows. His first credited acting role was an episode of “Matlock,” called “The Big Payoff,” in 1992. In the episode, he plays Billy Wheeler, a country singer who is down on his luck. In the clip below, you can see his acting chops and hear him sing a little.
Music is like acting. See, when you have a mediocre musician and you put them next to a stellar talent, all of their flaws stand out. The same goes for acting. In this scene, Randy Travis is sharing the screen with a veteran actor. However, if you didn’t know any better, you would think that acting was Randy’s full-time gig. He’s relaxed and his performance comes off as very natural. In short, he’s a good actor. Seeing a country music icon hold his own with a seasoned actor is truly inspiring. It seems like there was just no limit to Travis’ talent.
Without a doubt, the best part of the scene is when Randy Travis starts singing “The Life of the Party.” The look on Andy Griffith’s face is priceless. It’s the look of surprise that you see when someone whips out a hidden talent and stuns everybody in the room. Matlock wasn’t expecting Billy to have those velvety smooth pipes. At the same time, I could imagine just about anyone getting that look on their face while watching Randy Travis pick and sing on their front porch.
Randy Travis’ Acting Career
Sure, Randy Travis crushed the role of a good ol’ boy with golden pipes. To an extent, he was playing himself in the role. However, he had several other roles that allowed him to really flex his acting skill.
For instance, a few years after his role on “Matlock,” Randy Travis had a part in “The Rainmaker,” the film adaptation of John Grisham’s amazing crime thriller. He also took bigger roles in made-for-television films like “A Holiday to Remember,” and “Dead Man’s Revenge.” Travis even did a few voice acting roles for animated children’s shows like “Blues Clues,” according to his IMDb filmography.
In short, Randy Travis had some serious range as an actor. He could step into just about any kind of role and nail it. There’s no telling what the country icon could have done if not held back by his health issues.