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Concert: Randy Travis With the Nashville Symphony, March 8

Imagine Randy Travis classics like "Deeper Than the Holler" and "Forever and Ever, Amen" backed by a lovely string section. What's this, the "Nashville Sound" revisited? In a way, yes. Randy took the stage of the elegant Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Friday night (March 8), to perform those traditional favorites and others, with serious augmentation from the award-winning Nashville Symphony. The combination of Randy's still-rich voice and the gorgeous Symphony strings blended perfectly.

Sporting a black formal jacket and white shirt, Randy wasted no time in getting to the business at hand, leading with "Whisper My Name" and "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" before addressing the packed house. "This is a beautiful place," Randy said, welcoming the audience. "The sound is so great in here." Randy then proceeded on to "Diggin' Up Bones," but backed only by his eight-piece band. Other selections, such as "Better Class of Losers," were also handled by Randy and the band, minus the strings. Randy engaged the audience with lighthearted banter and even a couple jokes. He asked how many folks in the house had never seen one of his shows, and when hands immediately went up, Randy joked, "And proud of it, too, looks like."

The strings proved obvious choices for "I Told You So" and "It's Just a Matter of Time," which was originally recorded with an orchestra. But Randy's touching "He Walked on Water" and his iconic "On the Other Hand" were truly enhanced by the presence of the strings, which seemed like natural touches instead of a forced collaboration. Randy closed with "Forever and Ever, Amen," a fitting wrap-up to the evening that had the crowd on its feet.

Randy has been performing similar shows in other cities this year, and has additional dates on the books. If you get the chance to hear Randy with strings attached, it's an evening you'll remember forever and ever. Amen to that.

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