Randy Travis — “Everything and All”

Sam Gazdziak | August 10th, 2011

randytravisSongwriter: Troy Jones

Back in the early and mid-1980s, country music was a vast wasteland of pop-country schmalz and synthesizers, completely devoid of any traditional sounds. And then Randy Travis rode into Nashville, drove the pop pretenders out of country music, single-handedly kicked off the New Traditionalist movement and launched country music into a Renaissance era.

Okay, so maybe it didn’t quite happen that way. Still, at a time when George Jones was singing “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” Travis looked like the answer. The string of singles that he released over the first decade of his career alone, including “Forever and Ever Amen” and “1982,” make him a lock for the Country Music Hall of Fame. While an acting career and a string of gospel albums have kept his attention elsewhere in recent years, Travis has just released a 25th anniversary career retrospective album loaded with duets, plus this solo number.

Travis’ songs have always had a distinctive sound, but “Everything and All” is so bland that nobody could have made it stand out. It’s filled with generic, positive self-help lines about kicking back, taking it slow and dancing (and dancing and dancing) while the world keeps spinning ’round (and ’round and ’round). Add in some token Christianity references and the bit where Travis speeds through the lines “All like that and everything and all and everything and all like that,” it sounds like there are parts of two or three songs haphazardly stuck together.

Twenty-five years into his career, Travis is still a fine singer, but “Everything and All” doesn’t suit him in the slightest. Perhaps the problem with lies in the Anniversary Celebration album itself. This song is the opening track, but it’s performed as a duet with Brad Paisley. That pairing actually makes sense, because this is exactly the kind of fluffy, up-tempo ditty with a flashy guitar solo that Paisley does well. While Paisley can get away with a throw-away tune like “Online” or “Ticks,” it doesn’t work as well when Travis does it. Rather than taking a song and making it his own, Travis ends up sounding like a special guest on his own single.

It’s unfair to ask Travis to stick to the same style that he used 30 years ago, and it’s unrealistic to expect him to lead the Neo-neotraditionalist movement. His last radio hit was almost a decade ago, and the current generation mostly knows him as a Carrie Underwood duet partner, so it makes sense to play it safe. It’s just that hearing Travis singing “Everything and All” is like hearing Reba McEntire doing Beyonce covers or George Strait auto-tuning his way through “Stars on the Water.” It leaves the older fans disappointed and the younger ones wondering what the fuss is about.

Thumbs Down

  1. Ben Foster
    August 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

    This is a disappointment. Catchy, but lyrically uninteresting. Good points about why this kind of song doesn’t work for Randy.

  2. Thomas
    August 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

    …this thing gives the term “suicide bombing” a whole new meaning. wasn’t there really anybody around to stop randy travis from recording this?

  3. BLL
    August 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    This doesn’t grab me at all; too bad I used to enjoy Randy Travis.

  4. Occasional Hope
    August 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    This is really boring and disappointing. I can’t see this reviving Randy’s career.

  5. Noeller
    August 12, 2011 at 12:41 am

    fwiw, I really enjoyed a few tracks on the album, but this song is definitely not one of them. Not sure what the label was thinking in releasing it to radio…

Tagged In This Article

//

Current Discussion

  • bob: Enjoyed the articles on the story behind "When She Cries" and the dearth of women on Canadian Country radio. Thanks. …
  • Saving Country Music: Everything that came out in Friday's assessment of Studio 'A' by the developer was stuff we already knew. The only …
  • bob: Thanks Barry. Just reserved the Adam Gussow book. Sounds interesting.
  • Barry Mazor: It may be over-stated, in arriving at practically a single explanation of everything, but Adam Gussow's book on lynching and …
  • Leeann: Wow! Heavy topic and horrifying indeed! "Beer for My Horses" was all fun and games until that reference, I'll have …
  • Barry Mazor: Everything else aside, the way that reporter fills us in, with must-have, pointless generational snark included, about who this "Little …
  • luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
  • Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
  • Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
  • bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky