“Amazing Grace” is one of our culture’s most beloved songs – a hymn that holds power and meaning to many of us, regardless of our religious beliefs.
Written in 1779 by slave-trader-turned-minister John Newton, the song is an ode to Newton’s personal spiritual conversion. Newton wrote the song after he called out to God for mercy as his ship was being battered off the coast of Ireland. Singers ranging from Mahalia Jackson to Arlo Guthrie to Aretha Franklin to Rod Stewart have sung the hymn. But Sunday’s performance of “Amazing Grace” by country music legend Randy Travis was particularly moving.
Travis’s rendition came during his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Best known for his hit “Forever and Ever Amen,” Travis is no stranger to large audiences and ovations. When he took the microphone on Sunday, though, the singer brought down an unsuspecting house.
But there at the podium, standing next to his wife Mary, Travis eased into a rendition of “Amazing Grace” that had the audience quietly singing alone. When he finished, he received a standing ovation from a crowd that included fans and other country music stars alike.
The song seemed to be a tribute to the battle that Travis fought and won. And although he may struggle with speaking, Travis clearly still has his beautiful gift of song. Amazing.