Country music icon Randy Travis says he’s ready to make a comeback after several years out of the limelight.
In an exclusive interview with FOX 4, Randy said he’s ready to get back on his feet and back on the stage after several tough years.
When Randy’s career took off in the mid-1980s, country music was all urban cowboys and country pop. But his style and his iconic voice dragged the genre back to its roots.
Randy sold 25 million records and had 22 number one hits, but his career was seemingly ended by a massive stroke. It left doctors fearing he would never walk or talk again, much less sing.
But instead, Randy and that marvelous voice are coming back.
By his own admission, Randy has led a hard life. A series of embarrassing incidents involving alcohol led to an arrest on DWI and terroristic threat charges in August 2012.
A guilty plea later that year resulted in probation, a suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine. He vowed that he was giving up drinking.
But in July of 2013, Travis was admitted to a Dallas hospital with what doctors thought was pneumonia but later discovered it was a heart virus.
After suffering a stroke, he needed brain surgery. At one point, his wife, Mary Travis, says doctors advised it might be time to consider pulling the plug
"He was in a coma at that point in time also,” she recalled. “But I asked him, 'Do you want to keep fighting? Give me some more fight if you have it.’ And he squeezed my hand and a little tear fell down and I knew then that he wasn't ready to give up."
Randy, who has a family history of heart problems, continued rehab at home. Although he still struggles forming sentences and talking, Mary says singing is actually easier for him.
In October, Randy Travis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and stunned the audience by singing Amazing Grace. The performance and the outpouring of love at the CMA induction ceremony were much appreciated.
“Good,” he said. “Really good.”
Doctors had warned that Randy’s vocal chords were probably damaged during multiple procedures while he was hospitalized. But an examination six months ago showed, remarkably, they were not.
While Randy struggles with conversation, his smile and laugh come easy now, especially with his beloved horses.
Going forward, Randy and Mary are partnering with old friend Wayne Kirk at Texas Horse Park in Dallas.
A number of events are planned to raise money for the River Ranch Randy Travis Fund to raise awareness and funds for research on heart and stroke issues.
"With Randy out front, a lot of people understand the impact of the heart and stroke,” Kirk said. “And the signs they need to look for and warnings, we can educate people on and save lives."
"We're not giving up. He's tough as boot leather,” Mary said. “Sweet as a peach, tough as boot leather and as kind a man as you'd ever want to meet, inside and out."
Country music’s biggest stars have organized a “Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis” concert in Nashville on Feb. 8.
North Texas fans will also get a chance to see Randy at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on March 25, along with Demi Lovato, the Band Perry, Jake Owen and Cole Swindell.