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Randy Travis’ Easy, Mellow Voice Has Proved Good For The Long Haul

Until the past couple of years, when he finally took some time off to enjoy his success and exploit some movie opportunities, Randy Travis had been singing “nonstop” since he was 16 years old.

“I’ve been basically making a living singing for the better part of that time, and that’s a long time,” says the singer, who is heading onto the country concert circuit again (on a somewhat more limited basis).

Travis, whose voice seems stronger now than when his high-profile career began in the mid-1980s, says much of his early singing occurred “in the worst places, in … nightclubs with terrible sound systems, where you were up there screaming at the top of your lungs some nights just so you could hear yourself - and inhaling smoke like crazy. I must sing with the right form or I would have probably had nodes (on his throat) by now.”

He also has relied on a style markedly mellower than those of many of his traditional-oriented idols and peers. “I generally sing easy,” he reflects. “I’m not a singer who pushes too hard. To me, T. Graham Brown is such a wonderful singer, but to watch him it feels like (Brown’s throat) is about to rip out. How can that voice keep doing that?”

Travis seems to have modeled himself after singers whose art doesn’t seem labored. “I watched Don Williams; this is a guy who probably makes it look easier than anybody in the world,” Travis says. “I watched him do a show in London, and I loved it.”

TNN special on Tillis

Some unique offstage views of Pam Tillis, the Country Music Association’s 1994 female vocalist of the year, will be offered in The Nashville Network’s one-hour Feb. 22 special, “Full Access: On Tour With Pam Tillis.”

The special includes Denver and Salt Lake City concert footage of the star performing such hits as “Maybe It Was Memphis,” “Mi Vida Loca” and “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.” Three days of filming also capture Tillis singing offstage, skiing in Utah and bowling at a Salt Lake City bowling alley - at which she and her band, the Mystic Biscuits, entertain patrons with an impromptu karaoke rendition of a ‘60s classic.

Wigginses/Gregory a band once

Two young acts who have begun to make waves on the Nashville scene were once just one act. John and Audrey Wiggins, whose hit “Has Anybody Seen Amy” is just one of several exceptional performances on their 1994-released first Mercury Records album, long played for square dances in a huge barn in Maggie Valley, N.C. For seven years their fiddler was Clinton Gregory, whose first major-label album is being issued by Mercury’s sister label, Polydor, on Tuesday.

“It was mainly very little singing, just instrumental tunes for those folks to dance by,” Gregory remembers of his long stint with the Wigginses.