Though Randy Travis hasn't released much music of his own since a massive 2013 stroke robbed him of his ability to perform, he remains an integral part of the country music community. At the 2019 ASCAP Country Awards, in fact, he received the Founder's Award, with iconic performers including Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood paying tribute to the contributions Travis has made to the genre.

While onstage at that event, Brooks explained that Travis "saved country music singlehandedly," looking back to a time when the legendary singer reinvigorated the genre's relationship with its more traditional side. That was in the early days of Travis' career, in the 1980s.

"Country music needed a transformation to go back to the traditional, and there were a lot of guys out there doing great country music, but, for some reason, radio wasn't listening," Travis' wife, Mary, explained to The Boot at the 2019 ASCAP Country Awards, standing alongside her husband.

"Randy came along, and turned it on a dime and opened the doors for all of those guys who were doing it right. And of course, Randy stayed true to that -- through his whole career, he stayed true to the traditional country music," she goes on to say.

In addition to his own career, Travis is known for mentoring younger artists, including Kane Brown. An avid fan of country music both new and old, the legendary singer keeps his finger on the pulse of where the genre is today. He also has a pretty good idea of where it might go in the future, Mary explains.

"We feel like it is beginning to turn back to the traditional. It's almost like fashion and everything else, there is an ebb and a flow," she muses. "There are so many young artists that study Randy, and study some of the traditional [style], and they're singing it."

It's a full-circle moment for an artist like Travis, who broke into the country genre just as it was turning from a more exploratory, pop-inclined phase back toward its roots. Now, the genre is making a similar revolution.

"That was in the late '80s, and here we are almost 40 years later, and it's about time to run again," Mary reflects with a laugh.

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