When Doug Stone first impacted radio back in 1990 with his debut single, “Better Off in a Pine Box,” listeners were introduced to one of the most distinctive traditional voices ever to hit country airwaves.
Now – 17 years, a dozen hit singles and millions of album sales later – the singer of timeless country hits like "A Jukebox With a Country Song" and "In a Different Light" emerges with "My Turn", a project that lives up to its title and reunites Stone with the A-team Nashville players that lit up his classic hits. But make no mistake; this ain't no oldies collection. Produced by the artist himself, My Turn presents 11 new Doug Stone classics, each song reflecting a different chapter from the singer's incredible career journey and every performance reaffirming his status as one of country music's true stylists. "This is a real Doug Stone album, and it's something I've always wanted to do," Stone declares. "I've been looking for these songs for years. I've had 'You Were Never Mine to Lose' forever, and I wrote another one on the album called 'Right Side of Lonesome' just about 17 years ago.
Both of those songs are the kind of steel guitar drenched, tear-in-your-beer ballads that Stone can deliver like no one else, and the passion he pours into every track on My Turn – from country-rocking redneck anthems "The Hard Way" and "That's How We Roll" to r&b inflected, slice-of-life snapshots like "Nice Problem" and "Let's Take This Thing to a Better Place" – is positive proof that, whether he wrote them or not, every one of these songs is carved from Stone's own experience.
"There's a whole lot of how I live on this album, because that's how I picked the songs," Stone says. "They're all about living life on a country boy's terms. I love to party, light a campfire, and go out and have a good time. Even though I didn't write some of it, I cut these songs because they were all about me."
Offered the chance to take control of his music, Stone jumped at the opportunity and stepped up to the plate, handling every aspect of the process, from song selection to directing recording sessions to, well, singing. True to form, Stone found the experience not only liberating but, in just about every way, a whole lot simpler.
"It was easy to do!" Stone says with a laugh. "This is almost a live album; I actually sang the whole thing in about six hours. Every song was handpicked by me, produced the way I wanted, and sung the way I wanted to sing it."
That hasn't always been the case for the Newnan, Georgia native. Throughout his hit-filled major label career, Stone was forced to struggle with Music Row executives over the direction of his music and even the songs he would sing, and the artist makes no secret of his frustration with that system.
"When you start out in this business they try to cubbyhole you and tell you who you are," Stone says. "But Sony did find some good songs for me. They looked long and hard and they were getting top drawer stuff … I've still got my mind on some of those songs."
My Turn combines all the best qualities of those major label years with a new layer of deep Georgia soul that shines through in Stone's straight ahead country production and in My Turn's stellar vocal performances. It's the satisfying sound of an artist at peace with himself, doing exactly what he was born to do.
"I hired the musicians I worked with on my first record, because they are so good and so great to work with," Stone says. "In fact, I produced the record with a lot help from my old friend [session guitarist] Brent Rowan. He played in the studio, and he had a big hand in things. And Owen Hale, the drummer; every time I cut anything I use Owen. I don't know how else to explain it, he's just perfect."
Stone gets excited when he talks about the making of My Turn, but the boyish enthusiasm in his voice belies the fact that, for all of his triumphs and successes, Stone's career has been one wild ride.
"I crashed a motorcycle, two trucks and an airplane, and I also had a stroke, a heart attack and bypass surgery," Stone says. "So just to be here is pretty amazing."
No doubt, Stone's life and career have taken some unpredictable turns through the years, but one thing has remained constant – the unwavering loyalty of an army of Doug Stone fans. At the recent CMA Music Festival, they came out in force, a testament to the power of Stone's talent and his inimitable way with a song. And with the release of My Turn, those same fans will be rewarded with the album of a lifetime.
"There's no more loyal fans than country music fans." Stone says. "They really hang on, and I've got a ton of them from all the way back in 1990. They're kind of like family, and they've been with me every step along the way. I've had my ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it for nothin'."
Doug Stone Biography by Pete Cronin