Radio days, then and now

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Compare Cowboy Troy with one of his Warner Bros. Records predecessors: Randy Travis, who in the mid-1980s was also trying to break into a country music scene that didn't look a lot like him. Mr. Travis was folksy and authentic; Nashville at the time was a glittery, Kenny Rogers-esque scene. But while Cowboy Troy's reaching out directly to his audience, Mr. Travis worked the radio circuit, writing letters to programmers and visiting stations all over the country.

Randy Travis

Debut album: "Storms of Life"

When it debuted: June 6, 1986

When it went gold: Oct. 10, 1986

Major marketing tactics: Visits to country radio stations all over the U.S.; Letters to radio programmers; interviews over the phone, in Nashville and on the road; national TV show appearances

Cowboy Troy

Debut album: "Loco Motive"

When it debuted: May 17, 2005

When it went gold: Warner Bros. predicts by year end

Major marketing tactics: Bio, songs and videos on AOL Music and Yahoo! Music; videos on CMT and GAC; starred in "Muzik Mafia TV" on CMT; in ads for Dallas Morning News

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