See Inside Kane Brown And Randy Travis’ Tight-Knit Friendship

They say ‘don’t meet your heroes,’ but Kane Brown met his hero Randy Travis and they’re now close friends.


Melanie Rooten

| Posted on

February 27, 2024


8:56 am

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Randy Travis and Kane Brown; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM

Despite their 34-year age gap, Kane Brown and Randy Travis have developed one of the strongest friendships that the country music industry has seen, meeting back in 2016 and remaining in contact ever since, supporting each other’s careers on numerous occasions.

Kane Brown Began His Career by Singing Classic Country Covers

Kane Brown first gained some success within the country music industry by posting covers to social media, specifically Facebook, singing smash hits from the genre that spanned a wide range of generations. One of these covers was “Three Wooden Crosses,” a 2002 country-gospel tune from Randy Travis that marked his sixteenth No.1 single, as well as his first Billboard Number One since “Whisper My Name” in 1994.

Kane Brown, Randy Travis; Photos by Getty Images for CMT
Kane Brown, Randy Travis; Photos by Getty Images for CMT

Beginning his musical journey in 2015 – as far as original music goes – with his first radio single titled “Used to Love You Sober,” Brown was met with the surprise of a lifetime just one year later when he was given the unexpected honor of meeting the legendary Randy Travis himself.

Brown Met Travis for the First Time in 2016

Ahead of the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year television special – which aired live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center – Brown reflected on the first time he met Travis, revealing that it all stemmed from him covering one of his smash hits at America’s Morning Show in October of 2016.

While Brown was in the middle of covering “Three Wooden Crosses,” Travis, and his wife Mary, snuck up behind him and surprised the talented singer/songwriter, causing the Tennessee native to stop singing and share an embrace with his idol. Naturally, this moment was one for the books for Brown.

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Years later, during the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year special, when Brown was honored as Artist of the Year and Travis was recognized as Artist of a Lifetime, he had the chance to perform a Randy Travis cover in front of the legend himself. This time around, he hoped things would be different.

“I’ve done it before, by surprise. That was the first time I met him. He came up behind me at a radio station while I was singing it, and then I couldn’t finish the song afterwards, so I guess this is a chance to redeem myself,” Brown explained.

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In the same interview, the award-winning artist praised Travis’ ability to connect with his audience: “So many people can resonate with him, and I love what he’s doing right now with all the newer artists. I see him everywhere. I mean, he’s even on TikTok now, you know, with new artists and just encouraging them… You want to see those types of people succeed, and he’s just way ahead of that. I think he’s just an amazing person all around.”

Brown and Travis have remained close friends since their first encounter back in 2016, supporting one another on numerous occasions in more recent years. 

Formed a Close Friendship Over the Years

As mentioned, Brown performed a Randy Travis cover at the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year television special, but it did not end there. Just days later – during one of his Blessed and Free Tour stops in Dallas, Texas in October of 2021 – Brown called Travis to the stage to sing “Three Wooden Crosses” once again. “He got Artist of a Lifetime from CMT and I got to do this for him, and if any of y’all missed it, I’m gonna do it for you guys,” he gushed while sitting alongside Travis, prior to explaining that he plans to do this tribute more often. 

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Fortunately, Brown stayed true to his word, calling Travis to the stage to sing “Three Wooden Crosses” during one of his Blessed and Free Tour stops in Durant, Oklahoma in August of 2022 as well. 

ACM Honors Presentation

In more recent years, at the 2023 ACM Honors, Travis and his wife took the stage at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium to present Brown with the prestigious ACM International Award, earning a standing ovation from all attendees. “We’ve all witnessed Kane as he’s grown into one of the biggest artists worldwide and he’s a phenomenal representative for country music. Though the spectrum of country music has changed quite a bit since Randy made his debut in 1986, the heart of it remains the same and Kane is the perfect example of that,” Mary Davis, the wife of the country legend, shared onstage.

Randy Travis and Mary Davis present the ACM International Award to Kane Brown; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM
Randy Travis and Mary Davis present the ACM International Award to Kane Brown; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

She continued passionately, “There’s no greater example of the power of music than what happened between Kane and Randy. Kane Brown paved his own path, from rural Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee, and straight into the hearts of everyone worldwide. He did it his way, in eight short, incredible years, and he’s become a point of light for so many people from all walks of life… We wish you all the success of your life. God bless you.”

To conclude the touching moment, Randy Travis handed Kane Brown his trophy, with the latter thanking Travis, his wife Katelyn, his booking agent Braden and, of course, his fans. 

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Melanie Rooten

Written by

Melanie Rooten

Originally from Southern California and currently residing in Music City, Melanie graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Journalism before beginning her career as a music and entertainment journalist. Beginning to write for Country Now in August of 2023, she has also contributed to Holler, Music Mayhem, Country Chord, Celeb Secrets, Celeb Secrets Country, We Got This Covered and Decider throughout her career thus far. When she is not writing, Melanie enjoys going to concerts and music festivals, binging her favorite television shows, spending time with her friends and family and cheering on the Oklahoma Sooners (of course).