Randy Travis

Rise and Shine

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On his second gospel album, Rise and Shine, Randy Travis professes his faith within a traditional/contemporary Nashville setting. As steel guitars keen and fiddles whine, he delivers the message clearly, in his familiar unforced, relaxed style. Aside from "Everywhere We Go," a rousing call to resist secular efforts to "take your Commandments off the schoolhouse walls," these songs generally stick to the rusticities long associated with country Christianity, with evocations of Mama and fishin', a whiff or two of brimstone, and unsubtle wordplay ("The Son/sun's gonna rise and shine"). The music is appropriately sentimental, though the slow-drag, saloon shuffle of "I'm Ready" sounds a lot more like Saturday night than Sunday morning. It adds up to a strong performance, presented with flawless studio clarity and persuasive, understated feeling.

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