Randy Travis released his first radio single since 2013 on Wednesday, sharing the previously recorded song "Fool's Love Affair." Written by Charlie Monk, Milton Brown and Keith Stegall, "Fool's Love Affair" is a classic country ballad that was originally recorded by Travis in the early '80s. The song was released on the 35th anniversary of the release of Travis' debut single, "On the Other Hand."
Accented by steel guitar, piano and Travis' signature rich delivery, "Fool's Love Affair" is about two people living out the song's title, a "once a week fool's love affair." "It's a fool's love affair / and we're both aware / it's a game and nobody wins," Travis sings in the chorus. "We can't reveal / the love that we feel / so we'll just keep it this way 'till it ends." About three years ago, Monk approached Travis and his wife, Mary, about releasing the song's demo, but he couldn't find the recording masters.
"He looked for three years," Mary told the Tennessean. "He said, 'I turned everybody upside down in Nashville that I thought might have it.' ... Nobody had it." One day, Monk literally tripped over the master recording when he stumbled over a box in his dining room and dislodging the tapes inside, and the song was sent to Travis' producer Kyle Lehning, who updated the track by adding steel and electric guitar.
"It was like unearthing a little buried treasure," Lehning said. Mary described her husband's voice on the song as "so, so pure and true." "For it to all come together the way that it did... it's kinda magical," she said. "So many times it could have fallen through the cracks and disappeared."
The song is Travis' first single since his 2013 stroke, which severely damaged Travis' voice. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Mary said that her husband is continually making improvements in his health. "When we left the hospital in November 2013, they said, 'Well, you know, he’s going to be bedridden the rest of his life. And you will be in and out of hospitals the rest of his life. So this is a huge task that you’re taking on,'" she said.
"I said, 'I don’t mind that… and I don’t believe it,'" Mary recalled. "He got to the point where he pretty much shut down as far as going through the rehab because it does get tedious. When there’s that much damage done, you take tiny baby steps. There are plateaus — you’ll see a spurt of improvement, then it’ll flatline for a while and you’re just kind of at a plateau, and then you’ll see another improvement and every little thing is such a huge thing."