Actor/entertainer Randall Franks is best known as "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night," a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993. He appeared for five years on NBC and CBS and now on WGN America and is seen in 150 countries around the world. The Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame member is designated the "Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle." The award winning singer and musician shares his homespun humor, music and songs in concerts from coast to coast touching more than 25 million people. His music is heard on radio from Malaysia to the Grand Ole Opry. Randall is one of Bluegrass music's brightest stars. When performing, the champion fiddler, who hosts the annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship, at the Nashville Convention Center each year also shares his talents on mandolin, guitar and mountain dulcimer. Franks has appeared in numerous films including Hallmark Hall of Fame's "The Flamingo Rising" co-starring with Academy Award winner William Hurt as "Officer Randy Kraft." He starred in the sci-fi thriller "Phoenix Falling" with Stella Parton, in the Vietnam War era action adventure "Firebase 9." He also made a special appearance in Dolly Parton's "Blue Valley Songbird" for Lifetime. Franks began his movie career with a singing role in the movie "Desperate For Love" with Christian Slater. Franks hosted and directed the PBS documentary "Still Ramblin'" highlighting the life of Georgia singing cowboy Ramblin' "Doc" Tommy Scott. His 2008 Share America CD "An Appalachian Musical Revival" featuring him from the stage of the Ringgold Depot with 19 stars of bluegrass and Southern gospel performing for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship for the Share America Foundation garnered him new attention from several genres after seven-year hiatus from recording. His previous 2001 Crimson CD "God's Children" paid homage to the brother duets of the 1930's. The project includes appearances by David Davis, Sonny Shroyer, "Enos" from the "Dukes of Hazzard," the late Cotton and Jane Carrier and Marty Hays. Randall continued a new facet of his career when he co-authored the 2009 sequel "Stirring Up Additional Success with a Southern Flavor" with Shirley Smith, executive director for the Catoosa County Learning Center. Franks gathered over 100 celebrities from Bill Cosby to Faith Hill for the cookbook that incorporates celebrities, center stories and Northwest Georgia history and photos to assist with the fund-raising project for the Center. It's predecessor raised the center over $25,000. He is currently working on two other books. He also authored "Snake Oil, Superstars and Me" with "Doc" Tommy Scott and Shirley Swiesz highlighting Scott's 90 years in film, TV and music. As a child, Randall was exposed to the rich heritage of Georgia fiddling' at family reunions passed from the sound of an old black fiddle played by his great grandfather A.J. "Harve" Franks who taught Randall's great uncle Tom to play. Randall's desire to learn was sparked at the age of eight when he heard the "Orange Blossom Special." He was inspired to study both classically with Donald Grisier, Ph.D. and at the feet of some of Georgia's fiddle legends such as the Skillet Licker Gordon Tanner, WSB Barndance Host Cotton Carrier, Anita Sorrells Mathis and Dallas Burrell. While still in school, Randall formed the children's bluegrass band The Peachtree Pickers. It was through this act that he gained attention from national acts,television becoming a regular on the "Country Kids TV Series" and appearing for the Grand Ole Opry. The group recorded five albums. In the 1980's, The Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe took a special interest in the young band and especially the young fiddler. Monroe spent hours teaching and sharing with Randall much like Monroe's Uncle Pen had done for him. With the departure of Kenny Baker, Randall was asked to join the Bluegrass Boys. Still in school, he took off to tour from coast to coast. Though school beckoned him back, Randall continued to make appearances with Monroe up until he stopped touring. With more than 200 recordings to his credit, his music has brought him on stage or in the studio to perform with entertainers in a variety of music fields: Carl Perkins; Charlie Daniels; Peabo Bryson; The Whites; Ricky Skaggs; Kitty Wells; Pee Wee King; Jimmy Dickens; Jeff and Sheri Easter; The Lewis Family; The Isaacs; The Primitives; Bill Monroe; Jim and Jesse; Ralph Stanley; Jimmy Martin; Mac Wiseman; Chubby Wise; Josh Graves; Doug Dillard; Jerry Douglas; Sam Bush; Byron Berline; The Warrior River Boys; The Sand Mountain Boys; The Gary Waldrep Band; The Cox Family; The Sidemen; "Doc" Tommy Scott's Last Real Old Time Medicine Show. Randall was also tapped by two other nationally known performers: Folk Music's Doodle and the Golden River Grass, with whom Randall carried on the Georgia Fiddle Band tradition; and gospel quartet, The Marksmen, who Randall longed admired for their vocal artistry. Randall founded the SouthEastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA) to preserve, promote and publicize Bluegrass Music. Through the organization which has grown to one of the country's largest he supported the creation of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). In 1989, Randall released "Golden River Fiddlin'" to the Folk and Bluegrass markets. The project became available in chain throughout the country. With Randall's widespread notoriety gained by weekly network exposure, he worked to expose bluegrass and Southern Gospel to this new audience. Randall continues to appear on radio stations in all formats, television stations throughout the country, gives countless print interviews talking about and sharing the music he loves. He also carried this message to America's youth as an Honorary D.A.R.E. Officer appointed by the National Dare Officers Association, he has appeared for more than 10,000 students across the country to encourage them to live a successful drug-free life. Randall began serving as the Chairman for the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy in 2002. The organization operates the Catoosa County Learning Center helping residents reach their goals by learning to read, getting a GED or acquiring basic computer skills. Randall began the 1990's as he crossed over to the Southern Gospel market being the bluegrass performer to take his solo music project "Handshakes and Smiles" to the Top 20 Sales Charts. Singing News gave it "Four Stars." Serving both as an artist and producer, he was able to include many of his music heroes on the "In the Heat of the Night" "Christmas Time's A Comin'" CD released on MGM/UA and Sonlite. The project was one of the most popular Christmas releases of the year with Southern retailers. Both his "Sacred Sounds of Appalachia" (1992) and his "Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill" (1995) were among the top thirty Bluegrass recording of the year. His "Let's Live Everyday Like It Was Christmas" with Grand Ole Opry stars The Whites was given a nod as one of the top Country Vocal Collaborations. Randall has been honored with countless awards including The Fiddlin' John Carson Award, A.S.E. Male Vocalist of the Year, The Cotton Carrier Award, S.A.R. Citizenship Award. The Governor of Kentucky honored him for his contributions to the music of Bill Monroe. He has performed at thousands of events and televisions shows including most of the leading Bluegrass Festivals, fairs such as The National Folk Festival, The Grand Masters, National Black Arts Festival, Georgia Mountain Fair, ACM Fan Fest, CMA Fan Fair, Grand Ole Opry, Fiddlin' Fish Music and Arts Festival, Command Presidential Performance, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, Miller & Company, Reno's Old Time Music Festival and HGTV's Extreme Homes. Randall decided to expand his career in scriptwriting began under the tutor-age of Carroll O'Connor. He then moved into journalism in 2001. In his eight-year career as a mainstream newspaper journalist, his work garnered 21 Georgia Press Association Awards and one National Press Association Award. He continues as syndicated column "Southern Style" used in numerous publications across the South. Georgia honored Randall for his work to preserve the heritage of Georgia's fiddling by naming a state sponsored fiddle contest in his honor. That honor continues each year with the presentation of the Randall Franks Trophy at the 1890s Days Jamboree Fiddle Contest in Ringgold, Ga. Franks serves as a field researcher for several museums throughout the South. Franks said he was honored that the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Museum highlighted his career in the Skillet Licker Cafe beside other Georgia notables Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood for many years. He appeared along side Collective Soul and Third Day at the 2009 Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards on GPB. He serves on the Ringgold City Council through 2013 and is past chairman of the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy, which assists individuals in learning to read and pursuing a GED at its Catoosa County Learning Center near Ringgold, Ga. He is also president of the Share America Foundation, Inc. that provides the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship to musicians continuing the traditional music of Appalachia. He hosts a concert series at the historic Ringgold Depot which helps fund the scholarships. He was included among his generation's leading country humorists in the recent Loyal Jones book "Country Music Humorists and Comedians."
In 1990-1991, a "In the Heat of the Night" regular, he embarked on a most unique project as a music producer. He was charged by TV legend Carroll O'Connor and co-star Alan Autry to produce the "In the Heat of the Night" Christmas album. Franks included the legends of bluegrass music combining the entire cast of a top-rated network TV Show with, not one, but a cast of bluegrass stars featuring Chubby Wise, Buddy Spicher, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, The Lewis Family, Doug Dillard, Josh Graves, Mac Wiseman, Wayne Lewis, Gene Daniell, Debbie Farley, Bill Everett and himself to create the song "Christmas Time's A Comin'." O'Connor was so impressed by the recording that it became the album's title cut. The public made the CD a top selling Christmas release in the South in 1991 and 1992 raising money and awareness to encourage kids to not take drugs. Other stars contributed to cuts by various cast members such as Jerry Douglas, The Whites, The Marksmen, Johnny Wright, Bobby Wright along with several Country Music Hall of Famers including Pee Wee King, Jimmy Dickens, Kitty Wells and Grant Turner.
Randall Franks was honored in 2010 by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky. as a Bluegrass Legend for his contributions to the work of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys and 33 other Bluegrass Hall of Fame members.
When Randall's hometown of Ringgold, Ga. was devastated during the April 2011 night of tornadoes that crossed the South. After responding alongside rescue workers to assist his neighbors, Randall joined community leaders spearheading the creation of a local non-profit that raised more than $1.3 million to coordinate rebuilding homes and aiding the uninsured and under insured.
Randall Franks was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
Randall Franks writes Southern Style, a syndicated newspaper column, that appears weekly from Virginia to Louisiana in 11 states with millions of readers.
Randall Franks and his band member Jerry Burke taught Mia Wasikowski how to play mandolin during filming for her role as Bertie Minnix in Lawless.
Collective Soul lead vocalist Ed Roland engineered Randall Franks second career album "Building on Sand." Both appeared on the Georgy Awards on PBS in 2009 with a photo of the Franks, Roland and Third Day's Mac Powell being featured by Life.
Serving on the Ringgold City Council in Ringgold, Georgia [August 2009]