Eight Number 1 singles 15 top 10 Country hits with more than 5 million records sold the one and only Doug Stone

I just had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with legendary Country music artist Doug Stone. Doug has been one of my favorite for years so it was really an honor when he agreed to talk to me.  After meeting him and spending some time with him, it showed me that he is indeed a man of class and honor. It was fun getting to know him in a more personal way, his feelings behind some of what he does.

J ~ “Is there anything special you do before a show? Anything you have to have?”

D ~ I usually hit my albuterol because I’m getting older and been smoking my whole life. But I’m quitting the 19th that’s my birthday. I’ll be 57 and I figured it was time. I’ve been smoking since I was 11.

I do vocal warm ups  ~ that came statement along with a small demonstration J ~ and I usually have about four beers starting an hour before the show because I get nervous, still, after this many years.

***Yes he quit smoking Job well done sir!! ****

J ~ “What kind? Where are your favorite venues?”

D ~  “You know it is really funny I like all kinds. I like small clubs, I like big venues. I like anywhere somebody wants to hear me sing to be honest. But if I had to say favorite, I’d say theaters. A theater is a place you know people come to watch the concert. They’re not dancing, they’re there to see a show. I can tell my jokes and carry on with the crowd. I like that kind of interaction.  And you can see people. You know in a 2500 seat venue, which most theatres are about that capacity, you can see everybody when they turn the lights on.  I’ve done some where there are 70,000 – 80,000 people it looks like a sea of people and to me it’s more impersonal.                                                              

J~ You like the more intimate settings?

D~ Yeah, I love the intimate thing.

J~ If you could record a duet with anyone past or present, who would it be?

D~ My mother.  She’s the one that taught me how to pick n grin and sing. We never did a duet on a record. We did them playing bars and stuff. She’d have a gig at the bar and she’d get me up on stage and we’d sing together but I never recorded one with her.

(I’d love to hear that)

J~ “I read that you were very close to your mama”

D ~  “Oh yeah, Mama and Daddy. Daddy taught me mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, all kinds of things. He gave me the skills in case I never got into the business. He said “Doug its one in a million you’ll ever make it.”

I said “Thanks Daddy” and the more he told me I couldn’t the harder I tried to make it! Really, he helped me make it. “

***The love and sentiment as he talked about his parents was unmistakable, you could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.

J~ “Is there one song that stands out, means more to you than the others?”

D~ “In A Different Light” slight pause “the reason being it was one of the ones that got me my record deal. That and “These Ups Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye” when I cut that song, I thought to myself, I’ve never heard a song kind of talk about love in the work place.  It was one of those songs where once I went in there and listened to it after it was finished, I’m like “god almighty”. Then I went to the record label and said “Y’all gonna release that one right?”

They said “no wasn’t thinking about it.”

I said “what are you crazy?”

“Well, you believe that strongly in it?” I said “yeah, it’s going to be a number one no doubt in my mind”. He said “If you believe that strongly, then we’ll release it.”

So they did and it was my first number one across the board.”

J~ “My favorite has to be “I never knew love.””

D~ “Oh yeah. I got the demo on it and took it to mama and I said “mama what you think about this song”? She said “Oh Doug. I think it is great!” It’s going to be a smash for you”.

Well, after she died in 1997 I couldn’t sing that song too good, I cried every time I sang it because I started dedicating it to her. It took me about five years before I could sing it straight again.”

J ~ “What has been the biggest highlight of your career?

D ~ “Signing a record deal.” you can hear the appreciation and love in his voice as he talks about it. “Yeah, it was amazing.  I’ll never forget sitting in the lawyers office thinking ‘this is really happening ain’t it?’ That was my biggest highlight.” Then he shared his “second biggest highlight was hearing “Pinebox” on the radio. I was in Carolina, me and the DJ talked for an hour and played the whole album

He said to me “you ever hear your song on the radio?”

I said “no I haven’t.”

He said “I’ll give you 5 minutes to get to your car”

When I heard that I was like hey right now there’s thousands of people listening to this, not just me. So it made me feel good. It was a (emphasis on) big highlight.”

J ~ “Any plans for new music in the near future?”

D ~  “Well, I just completed one I’ve been working on for 20 years. I’m doing most of the music on it and everything. I play the guitar, drums, bass and keys. It’s like a project of mine. When I’d write a song I’d demo it myself. I can redo, redo until I get it like I want to hear it.”

**Hearing about the new song was very exciting to me being a diehard Doug fan.

“The new song is called ’Little Hearts.’ I wrote it about my daughter when I had to leave her when she was 8 ½ years old.  It’s a really cool song. It’s a song about what the guys go through. Everybody always writes about what the mama goes through but this is what the guy goes through and the child.  It talks about how much they miss each other” (goose bumps) “Little hearts hurt the most, cause they don’t understand is the first line of the chorus. It’s a tear jerker.”

J ~ “Do you have a bucket list?”

D ~ “I did when I got into this business, but ever sense I’ve done my bucket list. I was telling my road manager, Brenda, today I’ve got to find something to do so I can have something to look forward to.  I always wanted to fly. I did that. I didn’t want to crash a plane but I did. I’ve really done just about everything I’ve wanted to do. My main thing is I wanted to go places. I got to do a tour in Alaska. The only place I haven’t been in the US is Hawaii.” He contemplated for a moment “I thought about hang gliding but it doesn’t have a motor. I like motors until they go silent.” (hehe)

J ~ “What are your interest outside of music?”

D ~ “I love to play golf. I love to play chess. I love to kayak down the river, camping, those kinds of things. Anything that’s got to do with being outdoors, I love it!!”

J ~ “What do you think about the direction of Country music has taken over the last couple of years?”

D ~ “You know it’s really strange how it went to crap. That’s what I call Country Rap, its Crap.  If you went to sing rap, you want to sing rap, you know go over to the rap station and sing all you want.  They’ve turned Country into something that ain’t Country.  You’ve got a few out there like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley and I’m sure there’s one or two I’m leaving out. But they’re the only guys that are Country. And if they don’t watch out, they’ll boot them out pretty sooon and all we’ll have is Rock n Roll and Rap. I mean instead of calling it Country they need to call it Crap. There some of the music that is great, but I mean when you stick Sheryl, Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker in, I’m like wait a minute now. I don’t come over and sing with you ya know and change your pop to country. You came over and changed my Country to Pop. There no what I call “Country” anymore.  It’s all Rock in Rolland screaming guitars and all that other stuff, which I like, but it’s not Country.  I like Jasone Aldean and all those guys, I think they’re really talented, it’s just not Country. There is no Country anymore, I do wish Country radio would go back to Country. That’s my view. “ 

J ~ “In 5 words or less describe what Country music means t oyou.

D ~ “Everything!” One word with a lot of elaboration to follow it up. “It means I get to eat tomorrow. It means I get to travel on the bus and have fun, pick and grin and meet people. I love people If I didn’t love people I’d get out of this business. It’s a people business.  These people that go out there and go ‘Well I’m not signing autographs any more’ I’m like well l why not? I’m going to stay and sign autographs until the last person is gone. I just love meeting people.

That fact was evident to me. I went into the interview nervous I mean this was Doug Stone. However, he instantly put me at ease and it was obvious he was doing this because he wanted to, that he liked it, not because it was an obligation.  It was such a pleasure to talk to Doug he was thoughtful in his answers, fun and honest as we talked. Getting to hear his stories, in his words, with his emotions evoked was a “highlight” of mine. His passion about his music, about Country music was evident. He and artists like him are why we do what we do.


By: Jody Ogg ~ @JodyOgg

Doug Stone

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