Randy Travis Pens Heartfelt Tribute to Garth Brooks
Over the years, Garth Brooks and Randy Travis — two stalwarts of the country genre, who have changed its musical landscape through the music they've released — have grown to be mutual fans and personal friends.
On several occasions, Brooks has spoken publicly about Travis' legacy and influence, and most recently, he did so during the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, in which Travis was being awarded the Artist of a Lifetime trophy.
As he stood on the stage, Brooks praised Travis for his monumental impact on the genre. "I stand here tonight as one of the benefactors of this man's contributions to country music," he said in his speech. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: Randy Travis single-handedly saved country music."
Brooks stressed his own musical debt to Travis, stating that without the release of neo-traditional classics like "Three Wooden Crosses" and "Forever and Ever, Amen," there would have been no place for Brooks' own traditional-leaning style. But while Brooks painted him as a pioneering artist who led the way for others, Travis subsequently makes clear that he sees Brooks as an equal and an inspirational artist in his own right.
After the ceremony, Travis voiced his admiration for Brooks in an eloquent Facebook post, reflecting on his friendship with his fellow artist, as well as the musical feats Brooks has accomplished over the course of his own career.
"When my last silent prayer is said, I'll thank God for Garth Brooks in my life," Travis writes. "Our lives are like a mountain range — each a separate mountain, a different elevation, a different climb to the top, with different views — but it takes them all to make a range."
He continues, painting a picture of himself and Brooks as parallel mountaineers climbing parallel mountains, but each cheering the other on along their way:
"I'm on the other side of my mountain, so we don't see each other as much; but, never a day goes by that I doubt Garth is still there for me — telling the world now, what he told me back then."
Alongside his post, Travis shared a few snapshots from the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, including a picture of himself and his wife Mary onstage with Brooks, as well as two behind-the-scenes, backstage shots, including a picture with Brooks and his country superstar wife, Trisha Yearwood.
The 2021 CMT Artists of the Year event took place on Oct. 13. In addition to Travis, the event included honors for Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton, along with the 2021 CMT Breakout Artist of the Year, Mickey Guyton. The event took place at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.