Personnel: Randy Travis (vocals); Mark Casstevens, Biff Watson, Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Brent Mason, Steve Gibson, Chris Leuzinger, Larry Byrom (guitar); Doyle Grisham, Kayton Roberts, Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Hank Singer, Marc O'Connor (fiddle); Jim Hoke (soprano & tenor saxophones); Pig Robbins (piano, electric piano); Jay Spell, Dennis Burnside (keyboards); David Hungate (bass); Paul Leim, Harry Stinson, Larry Londin (drums); Tom Roady (percussion); Curtis Young, Lisa Silver, Bruce Dees, Cindy Walker, Dennis Wilson, Verlon Thompson, Suzy Ragsdale, Darrell Scott, John Wesley Ryles, Sheri Huffman, Diane Vanette (background vocals).
Personnel: Randy Travis (vocals); Larry Byrom (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar); Chris Leuzinger, Mark Casstevens, Biff Watson (acoustic guitar); Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Steve Gibson , Brent Mason (electric guitar); Doyle Grisham, Kayton Roberts, Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Hank Singer (fiddle); Jim Hoke (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano); Jay Spell (electric piano); Dennis Burnside (keyboards); Harry Stinson, Larrie Londin, Paul Leim (drums); Tom Roady (percussion); Cindy Richardson Walker, Curtis Young, Darrell Scott, Sherilyn Huffman, John Wesley Ryles, Lisa Silver, Suzy Ragsdale, Verlon Thompson, Dennis Wilson , Diane Vanette, Bruce Dees (background vocals).
In the tradition of such dyed-in-the-wool country stars as Lefty Frizzell, Randy Travis walks the walk and talks the talk. It's a good bet that if it weren't for Randy Travis, the real rootsy country music tradition, as handed down from the Carters and Bill Monroe through Hank Williams and George Jones, would be a thing of the past--Travis just about carried that tradition on his back through most of the '80s.
Travis' honky tonk groove and lighthearted sentiment pretty much sums up the spiritual aura and traditional instrumentation of THIS IS ME. "That old feelin' sure ain't nothin' new," he recollects on the opening "Honky Tonk Side Of Town," and straight away Travis sets feet 'a dancin'. "Before You Kill Us All" evokes a back-country stomp, as Hank Singer's moaning fiddle keys the changes and Travis notes the departure of his lover by observing, "Must be doing something wrong, baby, I don't know, but the goldfish are floatin' at the top of the bowl."
But it's on a pair of tear-jerkers that Travis reveals his true depth and range as a balladeer. "The Box" is a poignant tale of a father unable to express his emotions ("We all thought his heart was made of solid rock, that was long before we found the box"), while "Oscar The Angel" is a touching portrait of the town down-and-outer ("...Shoutin' out some prophecies to everyone...Was not your normal song of gloom, It was a happy song sung slightly out of tune").
Rolling Stone (12/1/94, p.124) - 3.5 Stars - Good - "...solidifies Travis' intermediary position between the great older country males...and those who would fill their shoes..."
Q (8/94, p.112) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Travis seem[s] to have got the hang of this good ole country boy thang..."