No Holdin' Back

No Holdin' Back

by Randy Travis


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No Holdin' Back

Released in 1989, No Holdin' Back was an anomaly for a record coming from Nash Vegas at the turn of the decade: It's a very traditional country album. Period. Travis is a honky tonk singer who uses the entire scope of the music's history as his playground. He doesn't take a lot of chances, as this record proves, but then he doesn't need to. It's not about ambition on No Holdin' Back. Kyle Lehning's production is flawless, in that he allows Travis' big voice to be buoyed by his accompaniment. He sounds like he's dead center in the mix. The album begins with the Matraca Berg nugget "Mining for Coal," an elegiac love song. That's typical enough, but on the very next track, his cover of Melvin Endsley's "Singing the Blues," there is a straight-up honky tonk song complete with male backing chorus -- à la the Jordanaires -- vocals, plinky upright piano, harmonica, and a barroom tempo. But that's not all: Travis lets out a long Hank Williams-style yodel that will make the listener feel the master's ghostly presence. The single "He Walked on Water" by Allen Shamblin was a bad choice, though it sold well. It's a syrupy ballad that is so overly sentimental that there is no place in the song for Travis to go. The most notable cut on the set is Brook Benton's "It's Just a Matter of Time," and it should have been picked as the album's first single to radio and retail. First, coming almost in the middle, it's the hinge for the entire album. Secondly, this is Travis at his best, stretching to get to the heart of a music that has so little to do with country; like Ray Charles on the other side, he has to make this soul song his own. And he does. It's a country song like it was written that way. The other standout is "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart," a modern country shuffle reworked though the tradition. Travis goes after it like Merle Haggard would, slipping in under those verses to max out the emotion from the melody, and then driving that refrain home with a hammer as the pedal steel whines and the crisp drums accent the end of each beat. This is solid Travis, and it proves that at the end of the 1980s he was really just getting started.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/20/1989
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0075992598828
catalogNumber: 25988
Rank: 12826

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Randy Travis   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Matraca Berg   Vocal Harmony
Carol Chase   Background Vocals
Steve Gibson   Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar
Dennis Burnside   Piano
Larry Byrom   Acoustic Guitar
Mark Casstevens   Acoustic Guitar
Doug Clements   Background Vocals
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Doyle Grisham   Pedal Steel Guitar
Sherilyn Huffman   Background Vocals
David Hungate   Bass
John Jarvis   Piano
Wendy Suits Johnson   Background Vocals
Paul Leim   Drums
Steve Lindsey   Synthesizer,kurzweil
Brent Mason   Electric Guitar
Terry McMillan   Harmonica,Percussion
Louis Dean Nunley   Background Vocals
Mark O'Connor   Fiddle
Dean Parks   Guitar
Richard Perry   Bass (Vocal)
Cindy Richardson Walker   Background Vocals
Tom Roady   Percussion
Hargus "Pig" Robbins   Piano
Lisa Silver   Background Vocals
Diane Vanette   Background Vocals
Jack Williams   Bass
Curtis Young   Background Vocals
Larrie Londin   Drums
Billy Joe Walker   Electric Guitar
Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson   Harmonica

Technical Credits

Matraca Berg   Composer
Billy Dean   Composer
Verlon Thompson   Composer
Mary McCreary   Composer
Melvin Endsley   Composer
Joseph Bogan   Engineer
Paul Ericksen   Engineer
Greg Laney   Engineer
Kyle Lehning   Producer,Remixing
Richard Leigh   Composer
Richard Perry   Producer
Hugh Prestwood   Composer
Bill Schnee   Engineer
David Schober   Engineer
Allen Shamblin   Composer
Laura LiPuma   Art Direction
Ronnie Samoset   Composer
Tim Bays   Composer
Byron Hill   Composer
Mark Sanders   Composer

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