Before the rise of the so-called "hat acts" in the 1990s and the sleek country pop/rock of the early 21st century, and directly in the wake of the Urban Cowboy backwash, there was Randy Travis, who broke onto the country music scene in 1986 without even a thought of chasing after a crossover radio hit. Labeled a new traditionalist, Travis delivered his songs simple and straight, and never leaned on a hat or a big belt buckle to drive his roots home. This set covers his biggest hits from his Warner Brothers years, and includes the elegant and calm "If I Didn't Have You," the artful regret of "1982," the lightly rocking and wryly humorous "Before You Kill Us All," and the gentle, stripped down Western swing of "Too Gone Too Long," among other highlights. A no-frills introduction to an artist who put a little down-home dignity back into country music.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett