Thirty-five years to the month that his major-label debut single, “On the Other Hand,” was first released, Country Music Hall of Fame member Randy Travis has unveiled a never-before-heard track. “Fool’s Love Affair,” marks the first single of Travis’ career since a 2013 stroke robbed the singer of his distinctive, influential voice.
“Fool’s Love Affair” explores the temptations and repercussions of cheating, but acknowledges the folly of the illicit weekly romance, from secret phone calls and a familiar motel room to the lingering guilt and doubt that follow the couple’s liaisons, ultimately sealing their fate. “It’s just a fool’s love affair and we’re both aware it’s a game and nobody wins/We can’t reveal the love that we feel so we’ll just keep it this way ʼtil it ends,” Travis sings in the forlorn chorus of the track, which was recorded at the height of the trailblazing artist’s vocal powers.
Written by Grammy-nominated songsmith Milton J. Brown (“Barroom Buddies,” “Every Which Way But Loose”), producer-songwriter Keith Stegall, and Nashville icon Charlie Monk, whose lengthy career has encompassed nearly every aspect of the business and earned him the honorary title of “Mayor of Music Row,” “Fool’s Love Affair” is a sweet surprise for Travis’s fans. The song is just one of many unfinished or yet-to-be-released projects the country singer participated in until his life-altering stroke, many of which involved his longtime producer Kyle Lehning.
“Randy doesn’t even remember [when it was recorded] because he laid so many things down over the years up until the day of the stroke,” Randy’s wife, Mary Travis, tells Rolling Stone Country. “He pulled this one out and Kyle did the mixing on it. It’s just so great to hear Randy’s voice again. It gives me goosebumps. It’s a very traditional sound because it’s Randy Travis, but it’s so current, which is what Randy’s songs always did. Everybody could identify with the life story in his songs and he told them so well.”
Earlier this year, the seven-time Grammy winner released the gospel album Precious Memories and an accompanying DVD titled Worship & Faith, featuring many of the inspirational tunes he has recorded throughout his career.