Randy Travis is bona fide country royalty. There is no disputing that. In the eighties and nineties, he was one of a few artists who made traditional-sounding country music. In fact, he, George Strait, and Alan Jackson spearheaded a movement that sought to keep the spirit of country music alive. Their neotraditional sound pushed back against the pop-infused sound coming out of Nashville at the time. Radio programmers as well as major labels wanted to give country music mass crossover appeal. Travis and others like him wanted to make country music that sounded like country music should.
So, in retrospect, Randy Travis’ releases weren’t just killer albums. They were, in a way, a statement. His records were a way to plant a flag on the musical landscape and on the charts at the same time. Today, we’re looking at a stellar example of that flag-planting.
Randy Travis’ third album Old 8×10 hit shelves on this day in 1988. It hit the top of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in August of that year. It also produced three chart-topping singles. Among those was the now-classic “Deeper Than the Holler,” which might be one of the best country songs ever recorded.
With Old 8×10, Randy Travis proved that the market for real, honest, country music was still alive and well. That being said, let’s look a little closer at the record.
A Closer Look at Randy Travis’ Old 8×10
Randy Travis didn’t just top the charts multiple times with his third album. He also took home a handful of awards. Travis took home Favorite Country Male Artist, Favorite Country Album, and Favorite Country Single at the 1990 American Music Awards. The latter was for “Deeper Than the Holler.”
“Deeper Than the Holler,” gets more attention than any other song on the album. Today, it is one of Randy Travis’ signature tunes. However, this album is packed to the brim with solid country gold. For instance, the title track of the album wasn’t released as a single. However, Travis croons beautifully about heartache in that song. It’s a solid album cut. At the same time, it serves as a balance to his signature song about deep devotion.
In the track. Randy Travis sings about the woman who left him and broke his heart. All he has left of her is one old 8×10 photo. He can only look at that picture and remember the good old days when she was at his side. Few people can make heartache sound as good as Randy Travis.
In short, if you’re in the mood for some country music that sounds older than its years, give Old 8×10 a spin to kick your week off right.