Garth Brooks has long praised Randy Travis' debut album, 1986's Storms of Life, for blazing a path for Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Lorrie Morgan and other tradition-grounded country artists to go mainstream by the end of the '80s.
"We've been lucky enough to hear the greatest of all time in guys like Randy Travis," Brooks said during a 2020 livestream (as quoted by Music Mayhem Magazine). "I think he single handedly saved country music in the '80s and for country music to follow from there. I know I'm one of the benefactors for Randy Travis coming when he did."
Before Travis hit the scene, some creators and consumers were disillusioned by the lack of what they considered traditional country music coming out of Nashville-- a complaint that wasn't new in the '80s, much less now.
Travis' swift success and the Country Music Hall of Fame career that followed proved there was still an audience for the type of story-driven songs that would go on to help define the '90s country boom.
In an Oct. 18 Facebook post that came just days after Brooks presented Travis with a CMT Artist of a Lifetime award, Travis eloquently sang the praises of his most successful musical progeny.
When my last silent prayer is said, I’ll thank God for Garth Brooks in my life.Our lives are like a mountain range —...
"When my last silent prayer is said, I'll thank God for Garth Brooks in my life," Travis wrote. "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. The higher you go, the more you see, the greater the rush, the harder the fall. I've had my share of it all. Now, I have the chance to glance back on ones that made my climb better, easier and more worthwhile. Garth Brooks came along right behind me and kept cheering me on as he climbed his own 'taller' mountain!
"I'm so glad one was near the other," Travis continued. "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. It took us all to get us where we are -- to see what we saw, and do what we did -- and what a beautiful range we made! Thank you, Garth, for the time you always take from your climb, to check on me and share your kind words with the world about what I meant to you. I may have helped bring our genre back to life, but you taught it how to live! God bless you and Trisha Yearwood, always, as y'all have blessed multitudes, daily."
Travis' latest career honor came last Wednesday night (Oct. 13) at the annual CMT Artists of the Year event.
"To think you receive a Lifetime Achievement award for sharing your heart with the world through music is really beyond words of gratitude," Travis shared in a press release. "CMT has been so good to me throughout my career and I'm happy they believe I gave something in return. I'm blessed and most thankful."