Country Music

A Duet Performance of ‘Three Wooden Crosses’ by Randy Travis and Josh Turner

“Three Wooden Crosses,” released by Randy Travis in 2002, represented a pivotal moment in his career. After nearly a decade without a chart-topping hit, this song not only became a hit in the country music scene but also emerged as a gospel classic. This significant achievement was a result of a collaboration between Warner Bros Nashville and Word Records, marking the first time a single from a Christian label reached No. 1 on the country charts. The song’s enduring appeal is rooted in its emotional narrative that explores themes of faith and redemption.

The creation of “Three Wooden Crosses” was a collaborative effort between songwriters Kim Williams and Doug Johnson. The inspiration came from Johnson, who imagined an intriguing mix of characters—a farmer, a teacher, a preacher, and a hooker—traveling to Mexico. This unlikely grouping provided the foundation for a compelling narrative. Johnson’s initial vision of these characters and their journey was so striking that it immediately captivated Williams. Together, they developed the song, focusing on the theme of redemption, particularly through the character of the hooker, which aligned with the song’s overarching messages of forgiveness and mercy.

The song, featured on Travis’s 2002 album “Rise and Shine,” achieved tremendous success. It resonated deeply with listeners, leading to frequent radio requests and ultimately becoming Travis’s 16th No. 1 hit. The song’s impact was further solidified when it won Song of the Year at both the CMA Awards and the Dove Awards. Its popularity and significance in Travis’s career were evident when he named a compilation album of his greatest hits after this song in 2009, titled “Three Wooden Crosses: The Inspirational Hits of Randy Travis.”

Over the years, “Three Wooden Crosses” has been covered by various artists, including Josh Turner, who added his unique style to the song. These covers have helped in keeping the song’s legacy alive and introduced it to new generations of country and gospel music fans. The song remains one of Randy Travis’s signature pieces, a testament to its powerful storytelling and enduring themes​

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