Garth Brooks was among the artists who paid tribute to Randy Travis during Wednesday’s “1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time. A Heroes and Friends Tribute to Randy Travis” concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Brooks delivered a faithful, upbeat version of the 1987 CMA Single and Song of the Year “Forever and Ever, Amen,” a Number One smash for Travis.
“There isn’t anybody in country music today or the last 20 years that doesn’t owe their career to Randy Travis,” Brooks told the crowd before his performance. Addressing the singer personally, he added, “I just love you to pieces. You totally saved this music, this format. And anything you ever need me to do, Hoss, it’d be an honor to do.”
“Just speaking for me, every day you wish Randy Travis would show up again – an artist like Randy Travis,” Brooks told Rolling Stone Country recently. “But the truth is, that only happened once in my past lifetime. It ain’t gonna happen again in the next one for me.”
Brooks’ take on the song penned by Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet was the penultimate performance of the night, which also featured Travis’ songs performed by Alison Krauss and Jamey Johnson (“Deeper Than the Holler”) Tanya Tucker (“I Told You So”), Chris Janson (“Look Heart, No Hands”), Scotty McCreery (“1982”), Josh Turner (“Three Wooden Crosses”) and more.
The entire cast, which also included Alabama, Kenny Rogers and Chris Young, took the stage to close the show with “Amazing Grace.” Travis, who sang a portion of that hymn at his Hall of Fame induction in October, also appeared onstage at the 50th CMA Awards just a few weeks later. He joined the ensemble of more than 30 artists for the emotional finale.
Travis suffered a stroke in 2013, paralyzing the right side of his body and leaving him unable to speak or walk. He was hospitalized for nearly six months and suffered several near-fatal infections. He is now walking and learning to speak again.
Randy Travis and wife Mary Travis discuss the special tribute concert held in honor of the country music legend. Watch here.