More than 30 country stars took tribute to country artist Randy Travis at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Following Garth Brooks’ lively take on Travis’ 1987 hit “Forever and Ever, Amen,” there was merely one solo performer left – but Travis had lots of help as the guest of honor directed the whole bunch and his fellow artists in “Amazing Grace.” In recent years, the tune has become synonymous with Travis’ personal struggles and slow recovery from an 2013 stroke.
Escorted to the stage by his own wife, Mary, Travis did a quick “one-two” mic check to the delight of the audience, then began singing as a few of the night’s participants filed out to the stage, touching the singer on the shoulder in salute before taking their spot. The remaining acts then surrounded him as the group also joined Travis in tune.
In the grand tradition of several country music tributes, the final melody performed was “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” an even more fitting tribute to the most recent members of the Country Music Hall of Fame – those words are inscribed in the Hall of Fame rotunda above the over 100 plaques depicting the association’s celebrated members.