A friend told me Randy Travis got his start years ago in Nashville working as dishwasher in a club where he was allowed to sing. Can you tell me if that's a true story and what the details are?
—Alice P., Georgia
Randy Travis did indeed cook catfish, wash dishes, and sing at The Nashville Palace. Born Randy Bruce Traywick in Marshville, N.C., he dropped out of high school in ninth grade, then ran away to Charlotte, N.C., where he won a talent contest hosted by Country City USA. Club owner Lib Hatcher offered him a job as a cook and regular performer. Hatcher became his manager and he recorded two singles for Paula Records before moving to Nashville, Tenn., in 1981. When Hatcher became manager of the Nashville Palace, Travis, then known as Randy Ray, worked there in the kitchen and on stage. He even recorded an independent live album there and was turned down by nearly every record label in Nashville before Warner Brothers Records signed him in 1985 and changed his name to Randy Travis. By the end of the decade, his records had sold more than 13 million copies. He married manager Lib Hatcher in 1991. The singer of hits such as A Man Ain't Made of Stone, Forever and Ever, Amen, and Look Heart, No Hands, is also a successful actor in films such as The Rainmaker.