Travis shines in Miracle appearance

His voice deeper than the holler, his concert longer than the song of a whippoorwill, country star Randy Travis was smooth as silk.

Dressed in a slick black suit and red dress shirt, Travis’ stretched an 80-minute appearance into a two-hour concert Wednesday night at Port Orchard’s Miracle Ranch.

Filled to the brim with old favorites and new songs, Travis blended the country and Christian seamlessly for a crowd of about 3,500.

The event, sponsored by the Bremer-ton Ice Arena, was a fundraiser for Crista Camps Ministries’ camp sponsorships. Miracle Ranch western-style camp is one of 10 ministries including Island Lake in Poulsbo.

Travis, 44, opened the show with “Before You Kill Us All” off his “This is Me” album released in 1994.

He then belted out “A Better Class of Losers,” and “Look Heart No Hands” before talking to the audience.

“I had no idea what we were in for,” Travis told the crowd. He spent the night in his tour bus at Miracle Ranch near Horseshoe Lake and woke up to see “people doing trick riding on draft horses.”

All joking aside, “What a beautiful place,” Travis remarked.

Then the joke was on him. “How many people have not been to one of my shows,” asked Travis in his thick southern drawl.

Nearly every hand in the house went up.

“I don’t know quite what to say to that,” he chuckled.

Travis kept the hits and the quips coming as he sang “King of the Road” and “He Walked on Water” and “Deeper than the Holler.”

Travis then switched gears and performed a smattering of selections from “Inspirational Journey” and his latest album, “Rise and Shine.”

“Baptism” and “Feet on the Rock” got the crowd moving. Someone requested “Doctor Jesus,” and Travis responded with an off-the-cuff chorus of the song.

He then went on to “Rise and Shine” and talked about his own struggles with drug abuse, crime and how being a Christian changed all that. He performed “When Mama Prayed,” of which the second verse hit home, he said.

As a young man Travis was arrested on numerous occasions for larceny, drunk and disorderly conduct, breaking and entering, and for totaling

four cars, two motorcycles and a horse and buggy.

“Ultimately, I gave into peer pressure. You kids don’t do that” he said, adding that if he had had the chance to go to a place like Miracle

Ranch, “maybe it would have helped me as a kid.”

Travis credits his wife of 12 years for helping him turn his life around. He also began reading the Bible in his early 20s and is deeply religious.

“Her influence made me want to be a better person,” he said.

He then got the crowd on their feet with his most recent hit, ”Three Wooden Crosses” followed by “Pray for the Fishes.“

Finally Travis switched gears as he dusted off some of his old hits “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Forever & Ever Amen” and “Just a Matter of Time.”

He then humored the crowd and played “A Horse Called Music” but stopped midway through laughing that he was making a fool of himself.

He and his band closed the show with “America Will Always Stand,” released soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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