Country Music

Randy Travis and Josh Turner Collaborate on ‘Three Wooden Crosses’ Performance

“Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis, released in 2002, marked a significant milestone in his career. It represented a comeback for Travis, who had not had a chart-topping hit for nearly a decade. The song, a blend of country and gospel, was a collaboration between Warner Bros Nashville and Word Records. Notably, it was the first Christian label single to reach No. 1 on the country charts. Songwriters Kim Williams and Doug Johnson created a narrative that deeply resonates with themes of faith and redemption, making it a special piece for listeners even years after its release.

The genesis of “Three Wooden Crosses” began with Doug Johnson, who conceptualized the song’s central characters – a farmer, a teacher, a preacher, and a hooker – on their way to Mexico. This unusual grouping sparked the creation of the song’s first verse and melody. When Johnson presented the idea to Williams, they both recognized they had something unique. The song was crafted with an emphasis on forgiveness and understanding, integral to its storyline and emotional impact.

Randy Travis’s rendition of the song, featured in his 2002 album “Rise and Shine,” played a crucial role in its popularity. The song resonated deeply with audiences, becoming his 16th No. 1 hit. It was immensely popular on the radio and went on to win Song of the Year at the CMA Awards and the Dove Awards. The song’s message and Travis’s delivery made it one of his signature pieces.

In addition to Travis’s original version, “Three Wooden Crosses” has been covered by various artists, including Josh Turner. Turner’s rendition adds a unique dimension to the song while maintaining its core message and emotional depth. The song’s ongoing popularity and the impact of covers like Turner’s testify to its enduring appeal and the powerful storytelling at its core.

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