When Doug Stone's
debut single entered the charts, the country music industry was
long overdue for a male artist who not only specialized in
sincere and moving love songs, but one who also was versatile
enough not to be pigeonholed as a one-sided ballad singer. The
year was 1990, and Doug's "I'd Be Better Off (In A Pine
Box)" hurled the Newnan, Georgia native into country's top
five and forever etched his poignant and vulnerable vocal style
into the psyche of country fans everywhere.
Stone's own noteworthy songwriting, a penchant for piercingly
laconic material, innate working class sensibilities and his
supple country baritone voice and you end up with recordings
that carry a uniquely powerful and arrow-direct emotional punch.
All of these
ingredients simmered in the stew of Doug's youth, which included
the splitting of his parents at age 12. Doug credits the
influence of his singing, guitar-picking mother, Gail, for his
lifetime affair with country music. When Doug was 7 years old,
she began to take him along to her local gigs and later that
year arranged for him to open a Loretta Lynn show.
Doug's mother was
firm in her belief that her son was a diamond-in-the-rough star
and worked diligently to ink dates for his band. One such 1987
date took place at a VFW hall where Doug gained notice from
Phyllis Bennett who became his first manager. With Bennett's
help, Doug signed a recording Contract, which led to the release
of his debut album and launched him headlong into overnight
sensation status. At the time, Doug was working as a maintenance
worker at a local country club.
Each of Doug's
first fifteen singles peaked inside the top 5, with eight
hitting No. 1, including "In A Different Light,"
"I Thought It Was You," "Too Busy Being In
Love," "I Never Knew Love," and the
Grammy-nominated "I'd Be Better Off (In A Pine Box)."
emergency quadruple heart bypass surgery at age 35, a subsequent
heart attack, and complicated voice problems, Doug Stone is
today at his most resilient and resolved. He says "I feel
better today than I every have. I quit smoking more than 4 years
ago; I eat healthy and try to do as much physical activity as
possible. I'm happier than I've ever been."
Doug also has a
renewed enthusiasm about his own songwriting but says he's only
interested in really great material. "That's led us to
scout out the best writers and co-writers. This really is the
best album I've cut since the first one."
touring the country and visiting radio stations everywhere we
can, I've always loved to do that. Everyone at radio has been
just great to me. So many of them have said, 'It's great to have
you back, and even better to see you so healthy and singing
better than you ever have,' and that feels wonderful."