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Randy Travis

Rise and Shine – 2003 (Word/Warner)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Randy Travis

Randy Travis may not occupy the top the charts like he used to, but don't blame him. The singer who spearheaded the traditionalist movement about 15 years has lost absolutely none of his vocal skills at all on this gospel disc.

Travis maintains his usual easy going vocal style with lots of timbre and emotion. In the lead off, "Raise Him Up," about raising a son who was not his blood, when Travis proclaims "I am strong enough," the listener is ready to say "yes sir!" Travis never has been particularly showy about his fantastic gift of putting across a song. For those seeking theatrics or histrionics, look elsewhere. Travis, who wrote 6 of the 13 songs, mixes it up between ballads and easy going more uptempo numbers (the title track), which still never lose track that this is country. And Travis even has enjoyed a hit with the redemptive "Three Wooden Crosses" about the redemption of a hooker.

Give credit once more to producer Kyle Lehning, who has worked with Travis for a long time and seems intent as well on not selling out the singer. Due to its subject matter, the disc will not be for everything thematically. Once again, though, Travis rises and shines.