Multiple award winning country music artist Randy Travis will receive the genre's highest honor this fall when he joins fellow musician Charlie Daniels and record producer Fred Foster as the 2016 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Fellow Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee introduced the three during a press conference Tuesday in Nashville.
"This year's class features three individuals who are revered for their respect of country music's deep traditions, but are equally regarded for forging their own unique paths, taking the industry in new directions and making new fans for country music around the world," Lee said.
Travis shot to fame in the '80s and '90s with a string of hits including "Diggin' Up Bones," "Forever and Ever, Amen" and "On the Other Hand." He twice won the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1988 and 1989 among seven total Grammy Awards, and he has brought home eight Academy of Country Music Awards, nine American Music Awards and six Country Music Association Awards. His second album, 1987's Always and Forever, resided at number on on the Billboard charts for 43 weeks. He has been praised among artists known as the "New Traditionalists" who "helped to usher in a throwback" sound in country music.
"As I told him backstage, in my opinion, he is the one who started the movement of what we know as country music today," Lee said.
Born in Marshville, North Carolina, Travis moved to Nashville in the early 1980s. His long, at times troubling history with North Texas began in 2012 with a string of run-ins with the law in Denton, Grayson and Collin counties. Still, locals in his adopted hometown of Tioga, which boasts a population of just over 800, have called him a "real friendly person," known for signing autographs and remembering fellow citizens' names.
Travis suffered a stroke in 2013, which required surgery and long-term physical therapy and has left him struggling with aphasia, a condition that makes it difficult to understand and express language. During Tuesday's press conference, he said "thank you" before turning things over to his wife, Mary Davis-Travis, who spoke further on his behalf regarding his induction into the Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone reports.
"Whenever Randy and I would talk about [the induction], it was that million-dollar smile of Randy's," Davis-Travis told The Tennessean, following the press conference. "I knew he understood the last 30 or 40 years of hard work were all worth it. This is the greatest of honors in country music. I know he understands that."
View the full press conference here: