Country singer Randy Travis is one of a dying breed he actually gives a shit about the music. So when he sits down for this Grammy Museum Evening With Randy Travis, pitch him some toughies during the Q&A he'll use the words "mediocrity," "greed," "ignorance," "shame." This soul-deep fealty catapulted him to Nashville's apex when his 1986 debut, Storms of Life, sold so many copies so fast that it compelled Billboard to adopt the SoundScan system to track and report country sales, yet that historic impact was just one speck of Travis' remarkable hillbilly Cinderfella ascent. A teenage brawler and petty criminal who divided his time between singing in honky-tonks and trying to outrun the local Barney Fifes, Travis was taken into cougar custody by fan and future wife-manager Lib Hatcher, a sort of latter-day Audrey Williams who enabled him to crash the mid-'80s New Traditionalist movement with striking alacrity. Travis has suffered some major label lumps, too: By the mid-'90s he was releasing single after D.O.A. single and dropping albums that no one even knew about. But the rangy little critter just kept comin' on, refusing to surrender and ultimately maintaining a career that's put him over the 20-million-album-sales mark. With his Lefty Frizzelltinged pipes and trademark humble vulnerability, Travis displays a naked humanity all too rare in today's Music City Goon Squad, and this remains key to his unusual and undeniable appeal. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., dwntwn.; Wed., Sept. 21, 8 p.m.; sold out. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org.
Wed., Sept. 21, 8 p.m., 2011