Thirty-five years ago, Randy Travis released his major label debut, Storms of Life, and ushered a more traditional, twang-and-steel-drenched sound back to the country radio airwaves during the post-Urban Cowboy era. Four of his albums achieved multiplatinum sales, and songs such as “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “On the Other Hand,” “Three Wooden Crosses,” “I Told You So” and “He Walked on Water” became etched into the country music canon.
Along the way, Travis picked up honors from the Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Country Music Association, GMA Dove Awards, Grammy Awards, and, most notably, entrance into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. On Sept. 24, Travis celebrated the 35-year anniversary of the release of Storms of Life via a deluxe edition of the project, featuring three previously unreleased tracks.
On Oct. 13, Travis will receive another illustrious accolade when he is honored with the artist of a lifetime award at this year’s CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, to air live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center at 8 p.m. CT.
“To think you receive a lifetime achievement award for sharing your heart with the world through music is really beyond words of gratitude,” Travis said in a statement. “CMT has been so good to me throughout my career and I’m happy they believe I gave something in return. I’m blessed and most thankful.”
“It is a privilege to announce Randy Travis as the recipient of this year’s CMT artist of a lifetime award. His historic career encompassing multiple genres illuminates his extraordinary talent, determination, and lasting influence on country music and beyond,” said Leslie Fram, senior vp, music & talent, CMT. “Randy’s unmistakable, traditional country sound has shaped multiple generations and we’re honored to celebrate this deserved lifetime honor with him.”
This year’s CMT Artists of the Year special will also celebrate previously announced breakthrough artist of the year winner Mickey Guyton, as well as Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton.
Artists who have previously earned the artist of a lifetime honor are Reba McEntire (2019), Loretta Lynn (2018), Shania Twain (2016), Kenny Rogers (2015) and Merle Haggard (2014).
Many of these previous honorees developed multifaceted careers over their years in the business, adding titles such as author, actor and businessperson to their resumes, and Travis is no exception. In addition to his work as both a singer and songwriter (with writing credits on some of his own hits such as “I Told You So” and “Better Class of Losers”), Travis built a career as an actor, appearing in television shows such as Touched by an Angel, and movies including 1997’s The Rainmaker and 2007’s The Wager. After surviving a near-fatal stroke in 2013, Travis offered an unflinching look into the highs and lows of his life and career in his 2019 autobiography Forever and Ever, Amen, written with Ken Abraham.
Travis’s previous notable appearances on CMT include headlining a 2012 episode of CMT Crossroads alongside the Avett Brothers, which was also nominated for a CMT Music Award that year. Travis also appeared on CMT Cross Country with Josh Turner, and served as a mentor for the CMT talent search Music City Madness in 2008.