‘The Music of Randy Travis Tour’ Will Celebrate Country Icon’s Influence
Randy Travis' influence in country music will be celebrated with a new tour. The Music of Randy Travis Tour will take singer-songwriter and actor James Dupre and Travis' original band, along with the country icon and his wife Mary, to 12 cities in the United States.
Travis and Dupre announced their tour plans at a press conference on Wednesday (Sept. 4). The Music of Randy Travis Tour will begin in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 16, and stop in Nashville on Oct. 28; a full list of dates is below, and fans can visit RandyTravis.com. Both Travis and his wife will make appearances at each show.
"We're so thrilled that James will serve as a stand-in [for Randy]. He delivers his music with the same depth and emotion and demeanor that Randy does," says Mary. "I can't tell ya how excited we are to get back home again. That's definitely a place where Randy felt most at home, on the road with his fans ... We're really honored that the band will get back together and be there for us."
Adds Dupre, "The world was stripped of Randy Travis' voice, and people deserve to be able to get back out and see him, and I'm honored to be a part of that." When asked for his opinion of Dupre, Travis offered an emphatic "Yeah, uh-huh" and the "okay" hand sign.
During the press conference, Dupre thought back to his earliest memories as a fan of Travis, when he was about 7 years old. "I remember asking my mom, 'Who is that man?' Because I was immediately drawn to his voice," the singer recalled. "I said, 'I wanna do what he's doing.' Little did I know I would be sitting right up here next to him!"
Dupre, a Louisiana native, is a former The Voice contestant, having competed on Season 9 of the show in 2015; he landed on Adam Levine's team, although he had his pick of coaches, but was eliminated in the Knockout Round. Prior to moving to Nashville, he was working as a paramedic and publishing performances to YouTube. Ellen DeGeneres found his channel and invited Dupre to perform on her daytime TV talk show in 2010.
"I went out there, and it was a great experience, and she was just as sweet as could be. She’s also from Louisiana, so we kind of hit it off and had a good time," Dupre tells The Boot of appearing on Ellen. "But after that, I realized that it wasn’t a hobby of mine anymore; it was something that I wanted to pursue as a career, and so I worked for a couple more years as a paramedic and then moved up to Nashville."
WATCH: Randy Travis, Unfiltered
Dupre and Travis together star, along with Travis' wife Mary, in the 2016 film The Price, which was filmed prior to Travis' stroke. Travis plays Roy Tagger, an aging country music legend who attempts to make amends with a son he never knew, Jonah Anderson (played by Dupre), an aspiring musician and longtime fan of his absent father. Mary plays Anderson's mother in the movie, which is fictional but was inspired by true-life events.
"That was my first acting experience, and I was really nervous about meeting [Travis]," Dupre says. "He came in the room, and he pulls out his guitar. He said, ‘Come over here. I want to show you a song I just wrote.’ He just broke the ice, and it made me feel completely comfortable around him. We hit it off and had fun making the movie, and we’ve been friends ever since."
Although Dupre met Travis only a few months before Travis' stroke, he has remained a loyal and supportive friend to the country icon throughout his ongoing health battles. "I actually go down to their place in Texas all the time and hang out," Dupre shares. "Mary [Travis, Randy's wife] and I are really close. Mary’s daughter, Cavanaugh, we’re real tight; we Snapchat each other every day. It’s pretty cool. They’re really normal people; they’re just really down-to-Earth and sweet people."
Travis has been largely unable to speak or sing since his 2013 stroke. In the country star's early days of recovery, Mary admits, it was difficult for him to listen to his own music. "It took several years before he was comfortable listening to it. I think that was just coming to the reality of what had happened with his voice," she explains.
"But time healed wounds, and he enjoys it," Mary adds. "He loves to hear people [cover his songs], and there's times when I've heard him say, 'I wish I'd have done it that way.' So he's wide open to having people cover his music."
Despite the limitations Travis incurred following his stroke, he has more and more often been attending events and concerts to support his fellow artists. Travis has recently shared a couple of unreleased tracks recorded before his stroke, "One in a Row" and "Lead Me Home," and he released an autobiography this spring.
The Music of Randy Travis Tour Dates:
Oct. 16 -- Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Murat
Oct. 17 -- Evansville, Ind. @ Victory Theatre
Oct. 18 -- Macon, Ga. @ Macon Auditorium
Oct. 19 -- Gulfport, Miss. @ Island View Casino
Oct. 23 -- Augusta, Ga. @ The Bell
Oct. 24 -- Spartanburg, S.C. @ Memorial Auditorium
Oct. 25 -- Knoxville, Tenn. @ Knoxville Auditorium
Oct. 26 -- North Little Rock, Ark. @ Verizon Arena
Oct. 28 -- Nashville, Tenn. @ Ryman Auditorium
Oct. 29 -- Atlanta, Ga. @ Symphony Hall
Nov. 1 -- Minneapolis, Minn. @ TBA
Nov. 2 -- Green Bay, Wisc. @ Weidner Center
LOOK: Randy Travis Through the Years
5 Lessons We've Learned From Randy Travis