This story has been updated (see below):
Finally finishing the recently-released memoir of Randy Travis, Forever And Ever, Amen (it’s been a busy last month, review coming). And as you can imagine, along with the 300 pages of biographical information and candid stories of Randy’s upbringing, career, and catastrophic health problems, there are plenty of shout outs to fellow performers Randy collaborated or interacted with throughout his country music career.
In the book, Randy Travis pays tribute to Merle Haggard and George Jones, who were a couple of his primary influences, and two men Travis got to perform with over the years. Tammy Wynette, who Travis toured with extensively early in his career, also receives a lot of ink. Artists like Neal McCoy, Dolly Parton, and Larry Gatlin are mentioned as some of the first performers Randy Travis saw as he began his recovery. More contemporary artists who still embody the spirit of traditional country music also receive praise in the book, artists like Josh Turner who visited Randy Travis often during his recovery and sang him songs, and Jamey Johnson.
But independent fans might be both shocked and jubilant to turn to the very final page of the memoir to see Randy Travis talking about upsurging country artist Cody Jinks. When it comes to the other performers mentioned in Forever and Ever, Amen, it mostly involves artists signed to major labels, and who received mainstream radio play in their career. The mention is not just cool for Cody Jinks, it also symbolizes a changing of the guard, and how the future of country music is just as much independent as it is mainstream.
“Besides working with various charities and benevolent groups, Mary (Randy’s wife) and I continue going out to hear other artists, both to hear the music we love and also encourage our fellow artists,” Randy writes on the final page of the book. “I especially enjoy encouraging some of the new stars of country music, such as Cody Jinks and others.”
On January 25th, 2019, Randy Travis and his wife Mary made a surprise appearance at the Heritage Hall in Ardmore, Oklahoma for a Cody Jinks show. Jinks has been paying tribute to Randy Travis in his sets for years, performing Randy’s #1 song from 1986, “Diggin’ Up Bones.” Right after Jinks performed the song on the evening, Randy Travis walked out on stage with wife Mary as a shocked Cody Jinks looked on in disbelief, and the crowd chanted, “Randy! Randy! Randy!”
Then Mary told the assembled crowd, “[Remember] when George Jones said, ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?’ He said Randy Travis. And I just want to tell you tonight, when people ask us who is gonna fill Randy Travis’s shoes, [it’s] Cody Jinks.”
“I’m just glad I didn’t screw the song up with him sitting right there,” Cody Jinks said in response.
Randy has made similar appearances at shows, including to see Jamey Johnson and Kelsey Waldon perform at The Fillmore Charlotte in April.
To gain the respect and admiration of today’s independent country fans is one thing for Cody Jinks. It’s another to receive it from country legends and Hall of Famers such as Randy Travis.
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UPDATE: Cody Jinks further elaborated on his relationship with Randy Travis Wednesday (6-19), after Saving Country Music posted this article.
I initially heard the news I was mentioned in Randy Travis’ new book a few weeks ago. A co-worker of my mom’s brought the book in to the office and Mom took a picture and sent it to me. I was at home with my wife and yelled, “Holy Shit, Bec! I’m in Randy’s new book!”
I immediately sent Mary and Randy a text of thanks and that it was a huge honor for me.
Fast forward to today, I start getting texts about the new Saving Country Music article about it while we are in the studio. We happen to be working on a song that has been extremely difficult for me to cut for personal reasons, and I just read the article. I walked outside so I could clear my eyes. I think the word humbled is widely misused today – I am not humbled. I’m not sure I can find the words to describe what this means to me.
Jamey Johnson introduced my wife and I to the Travis’ last year at one of his shows in Ft. Worth. They are lovely and amazing people. They are magnetic individuals and an even greater force of love together. That’s really about it. My heart is full.
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