Country Music

Josh Turner and Randy Travis Unite to Perform ‘Three Wooden Crosses

“Three Wooden Crosses” is a significant song in the career of Randy Travis. Released in 2002, it marked a triumphant return to the top of the charts for Travis, who hadn’t had a No. 1 hit in almost a decade. This song stood out not only as a country music hit but also as a gospel classic. It was released through a collaboration between Warner Bros Nashville and Word Records, with the latter being the first Christian label to have a single reach No. 1 on the country charts. The emotional depth and themes of faith and redemption in “Three Wooden Crosses” have resonated with listeners since its release.

The song was crafted by songwriters Kim Williams and Doug Johnson. Johnson conceived the idea of the song’s central characters – a farmer, a teacher, a preacher, and a hooker – on their way to Mexico. The unique grouping of these characters sparked the song’s narrative, which delves into themes of forgiveness and understanding. Williams was immediately captivated by the opening lines and the potential of the story. Together, they developed the song, focusing on which character’s survival would have the most impact on the audience, ultimately deciding on the hooker to align with the theme of mercy and redemption.

“Three Wooden Crosses” was a track on Randy Travis’s 2002 album “Rise and Shine” and quickly became a fan favorite. Its popularity soared, making it Travis’s 16th No. 1 hit. The song’s appeal was further bolstered by Travis’s compelling delivery of the lyrics. It received significant recognition, winning Song of the Year at both the CMA Awards and the Dove Awards. Over the years, the song has been covered by various artists, including Josh Turner, each adding their unique interpretation to this beloved tune.

The song has become one of Travis’s signature songs, emblematic of his impact on both country and gospel music. In 2009, recognizing its enduring popularity and significance, Travis named a compilation album covering some of his greatest hits “Three Wooden Crosses: The Inspirational Hits of Randy Travis.” This compilation not only celebrates Travis’s illustrious career but also highlights the lasting influence of “Three Wooden Crosses” in the realms of country and gospel music.

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