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Randy Travis to Release First New Song Since 2013 Stroke

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Country Music Hall of Fame member Randy Travis is releasing his first new song in over a decade this week. The announcement, delivered via the “Forever and Ever, Amen” vocalist’s social media, has spurred considerable excitement and curiosity from country fans and marks one of the most impossible comebacks in music history: Travis has been mostly unable to sing or speak since suffering a near-fatal stroke in 2013.

The questions about how Travis recorded the new song are myriad, and his team is keeping the information close to the vest. But here’s what we know so far.

What We Know About Randy Travis’s New Song

Travis’ first new song in more than a decade is titled “Where That Came From” and was co-written by country veterans John Scott Sherrill and Scotty Emerick, according to credits listed on a YouTube video for the song’s preview. Sherill has written for the likes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Josh Turner, who is one of a few country stars who’ve seemingly helped promote the song. In a pair of separate reaction videos on social media this week, Turner and Cody Johnson are shown listening to “Where That Came From.” (Luke Combs also commented on Travis’ TikTok, writing, “Oh my lord this is going to be incredible.”)

Emerick, meanwhile, has penned songs by Toby Keith, George Strait, Sawyer Brown, and Kenny Chesney, and actually released his own recording of “Where That Came From” last year on his EP Headwinds (The Demo Sessions).

What Happened to Randy Travis’s Health?

Travis suffered a major stroke in 2013 that nearly killed him and robbed him of much of his speech and singing ability. Since then, he’s made a few notable public appearances, including at his Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2016 to perform a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” He’s also made select appearances — including one with Turner on The Bobby Bones Show — to add his signature baritone “amen” at the end of “Forever and Ever, Amen.”

While Travis hasn’t released newly recorded material since the stroke, he has issued albums of previously recorded country and spiritual covers in 2013 and 2014. In 2019, he released his memoir Forever and Ever, Amen. Travis’s original vocal of the Christmas song “There’s a New Kid in Town” was also used in an updated version by Drew Parker, who recruited Travis to appear in the music video.

How Did Randy Travis’s New Song Get Made?

Given Travis’s health and still presumably limited speaking ability, some have begun to question the provenance of Travis’s vocals, with many speculating that Travis is “singing” with assistance from AI voice-cloning tech. It’s unclear based on the short preview of the song that Travis shared this week, though it’s a plausible conclusion given how much the technology has evolved in the past several years. (A rep for Travis declined to share any details ahead of the song’s release.)

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Travis himself gave little information about “Where That Came From” in his announcement this week but wrote that “you’ll hear much more about the special team of folks who came together to help make this magical moment in my career possible in the coming week.” Several country stars, including Combs, Johnson, Turner, and Clay Walker, have helped promote the song this week, commenting on Travis’s posts or sharing emotional reactions to their first listens to the track.

If the vocals are actually voice-cloned, a key question would be who actually sang the original vocals that were necessary to overlay with Travis’s sound? Perhaps we’ll find out in the coming days.

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