Over his 25-year music career, country and gospel music singer and actor Randy Travis has worked hard - recording 20 studio albums, drafting 50 charted singles and appearing in several films and television shows.
Now, he's ready to celebrate.
Bringing old hits and new works from his "25th Anniversary Celebration" album, Travis will entertain local fans at 8 p.m. Friday at Tussey Mountain in Boalsburg. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the evening will include two opening acts.
Country and gospel singer Randy Travis will perform at Tussey Mountain Ampitheater on Friday.
Featuring collaborations with everyone from Kenny Chesney to Kristin Chenoweth, Travis answered questions for the Altoona Mirror via email about his anniversary album. He also opened up about the switch from country to gospel, and what the future if his career may hold.
We are so excited to have you here in Central Pennsylvania. Have you been fond of playing in this area over the course of your career? Do you find it different playing in more rural areas as opposed to big cities?
"Playing in the Central Pennsylvania area is something that we've truly enjoyed over the years, and continue to look forward to. The difference that I've experienced when playing in rural areas as opposed to bigger cities is the intimacy that's created with the audience, and the kindness shown by the people. It's something that I've just always preferred and appreciated."
If you go
Who: Randy Travis
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Tussey Mountain Ampitheater, 301 Bear Meadows Road, Boalsburg
Details: General admission tickets are $40 and VIP tickets are $75. VIP tickets include free parking, admission to a VIP reception including complimentary food and adult beverages, preferred VIP seating and complimentary lift pass. Tickets can be purchased online at www.thestatetheatre.org, in person at the theater box office from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday or by calling 272-0606.
You are one of the few long-standing artists to become successful within two genre spheres of popular music. What was the switch from country to gospel like for you as an artist? What exactly prompted it and who inspired or helped guide you along the way?
"Recording a gospel album is something that I just wanted to do and it was, partly, by request from my mother. The one song that she requested from me was 'Amazing Grace,' and I did that with an acoustic guitar. I just sat in front of the [microphone] and did that myself. So, she was a big part of all that, and it's something I also wanted to do for a long time. As for changes, they weren't huge in terms of instrumentation and the kind of writing as far as new gospel songs are concerned. The songs were written by country music writers. So, in that case, the melodies and type of writing are going to be the same. It's something that allows you to give praise to God, and it was such an enjoyable thing for me. Every gospel album that we've done was the easiest thing that my producer, Kyle Lehning, and I have done in the studio. And that says a whole lot because we aren't fond of working hard when we go into the studio to record. These were some of the easiest and fondest times that I've ever had."
Tell me about your latest release for your 25th Anniversary Celebration. What will fans of your music from any or all points in your career enjoy about this album?
"They'll be able to enjoy a pretty impressive group of singers on the album. When we asked the artists if they would do something on the Anniversary CD, we also asked them what they wanted to sing, whether it be something old or doing a new song. Once the project wrapped up, we had about half-and-half on the CD."
"25th Anniversary Celebration" has such an extensive and revered list of collaborators. What was it like working with all of these artists - everyone from Broadway singers to new and old country stars?
"Working with such talented artists on the project was really wonderful! I was honored and humbled by the fact that they decided to be part of the CD. The fact that we were able to bring such incredible singers together was quite special. However, after the recording process was over, they ALL told me to leave them alone!"
What should fans of your music expect from your live show? Do you play from your whole discography, or have anything special planned for your Tussey Mountain show?
"There are a couple of changes on some of the songs that we're re-doing as part of the 25th Anniversary Tour. We'll also do some of the more familiar songs."
What is the plan for the future of your music and your career? Think we'll see you around for another 25 years?
"I just hope to continue touring and playing the hits that people expect to hear. It's been an amazing 25 years, and I'm very thankful for the chance to get to do what I truly love. Being in the music business has been far more than I ever anticipated. I look forward to what the future holds."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.