October , 2013
Review by Tracy Nightingale
"Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am"
Label: Warner Music
It begins with notes that put you in a classic country bar where you might see Randy Travis with just a couple of band mates playing an acoustic set on a Tuesday night. Influence Vol. 1, The Man I Am hosts only one original song otherwise paying homage to Merle Haggard, George Jones and Ernest Tubb among others on some not so familiar covers. His voice does sound a bit more worn here than in years past, however, there isn't a great deal of vocal challenges on these tracks so Travis fans will revel in his timeless sound.
One will notice that there is not much up-tempo on Influence which allows for an overall smoothness of tracks and transitions. Waylon Jennings' "You Asked Me To" has some good movement and feels almost as good as the original. That one original song, a duet with Joe Nichols named "Tonight I'm Playing Possum" is a beautifully written tribute to the late George Jones and the combination of Travis and Nichols leaves you wanting to hear more of the two together.
Although this album is almost entirely covers, they're not the ones recorded repeatedly by so many others. For those unfamiliar with these songs it will be a little classic country history lesson, heavy on some of Haggard's best including "Ever Changing Woman" and "I'm Always On a Mountain When I Fall". The rest can sit back and enjoy this collection of iconic music for both it's history and the voice singing it.