Three Wooden Crosses: The Inspirational Hits of Randy Travis
Randy Travis has devoted much of the past decade to recording a wide range of American traditional hymns and more contemporary spiritual tunes. The fruits of his efforts are gathered on Three Wooden Crosses, a 20-track selection of his best gospel work, and these largely acoustic-oriented tracks compare favorably with anything Travis has recorded as a mainstream country act. By turns mellow, tender, wise, and enraptured, his well-burnished vocals manage to make familiar tunes sound fresh and newly penned songs seem timeless. Travis particularly excels on folksy narratives like “Angels” and the title tune, as well as on brisk bluegrass-tinged material like “Love Lifted Me” and “Shall We Gather At the River?” Smart arrangement choices — such as the bluesy twist given “Swing Down Chariot,” featuring the legendary Five Blind Boys of Alabama — add to the appeal of these performances. From the jaunty Texas swing of “He’s My Rock, My Sword, My Shield” to the church picnic festiveness of “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands,” Travis has fun with these songs without dimming their reverent glow.