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Randy Travis ages well

Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Mass., October 28, 2006

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The hits are coming further and fewer in between in recent years for Randy Travis, but that doesn't mean the great country crooner who spearheaded the New Traditionalist movement in country a few decades ago is any worse for wear.

Once again, the North Carolina native amply demonstrated before a bit short of a full house that he continues to have the vocal chops no problem and a history of hits that still sound real good after all these years abetted by an easy going stage presence.

Travis turned in what proved to be pretty much a greatest hits show - after all, he hasn't released a all country disc in five years because his last four releases have been inspirationally-based albums. The greatest hits theme became obvious pretty early in the 90-minute set starting with the easy going start of "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart," "The Hole" and "Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man."

Dozens of people who came to the lip of the stage waiting for Travis to sign his autograph on whatever was thrust before him proved to be a bit distracdting during the first few songs. He did as much as he could for the fans, while continuing to sing. But fortunately the continuous stream of people ended allowing Travis to perform.

Travis is not the kind of performer who is going to bowl you over with some big production and larger than life presence on stage.

Instead, his show is built on the cumulative effect of the quality of the songs and vocals. Travis was particularly effective on a few throwback hits of "A Matter of Time" and Roger Miller's "King of the Road," which had the crowd singing and snapping their fingers along.

Travis broke up the country songs with a four-song gospel segment of "Precious Lord Take My Hand," "This Train," "Raise Him Up" and "Three Wooden Crosses" where he changed it up musically, forgoing drums and pedal steel, which sounded great for the rest of the set.

Travis remains an affable performer on stage, very low on the ego meter. He clearly seemed very appreciative of the strong crowd response he received several times, including a few standing ovations.

He took a few requests, tackling "Look Heart No Hands" for the first time this entire year without any problem.

What was unfortunate was that the newest song that Travis played from his hits was "Three Wooden Crosses" from about three years ago. Especially so since Travis has aged well with no sign that his best days should be behind him.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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