Doug Stone takes life in stride these days, appreciating that he is still on this planet for a purpose and keeping his sense of humor afloat, or just maybe his sense of humor and faith keep Doug Stone afloat. Doug laughs a lot when you talk to him and his joy in his present life is evident.
Now in 2021, after 30 years, 8 #1 singles, 11 top 10 singles, and over 10 million albums sold, Doug Stone, singer of a plethora of timeless Country hits like“I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box),” “A Jukebox with a Country Song” and “In a Different Light” continues touring and performing for his dedicated fans all across the nation.
“I love going out on the road, but it’s getting harder for me to do. It wears me out a little more now than it did. Of course, that makes sense since I am a few decades removed from heart surgery and a pandemic survivor,” says Stone. “I really enjoy performing, it’s a lot of fun. It’s my favorite thing to do.” This is very evident if you ever get the chance to attend one of Doug's shows, do it. The connection he has to the audience, his songs, stories and entertaining personality gives those lucky enough to attend, what they expect from this talented superstar.
Doug Stone was born Douglas Jackson Brooks on June 19, 1956. Stone chose to change his name before climbing the charts, to avoid confusion with Garth Brooks. At the age five he learned the guitar from his mother an avid singer, guitarist and Country music singer. At age seven he was given the opportunity, by his mother, to open for Loretta Lynn, which petrified the young Stone to no end, but also set him on his life's course in Country music.
Life as the young Doug new it changed drastically with the divorce of his mother and father. Doug, moved in with his dad. As he grew into a teenager, Doug played music wherever he could, including skating rinks, local bars, literally anywhere that he could get in the door. What he learned from his father was how to fix things and he helped his father with literally any money making projects to make ends meet. Later, Doug worked as a mechanic, something else that came to him naturally from his experiences with his father.
As he turned 30, Stone realized that he had to make the move to Nashville if he was serious about a career in music and making his dreams come true. It was now or never. Stone says with a laugh. “When I hit 30, I told myself if I didn’t get off my butt and do something, nothing was ever going to happen. That’s when I got up and went to Nashville.”
Doug was past 30 when a Nashville manager paired him up with Epic, his first record label. Debuting with the 1990 single, “I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box),” which was the first release from his self-titled debut album “Doug Stone”. This album produced a several chart-topping singles including his first number one, “In a Different Light” and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. Both his "Doug Stone" album and its successor, 1991’s "I Thought It Was You" earned platinum certification for U.S. shipments of one million copies.
Two more albums for Epic, 1992’s "From The Heart" and 1994’s "More Love", were each certified gold. Stone charted an amazing twenty-two singles on Hot Country Songs between 1990 and 1995, he charted eight Number Ones including: “In a Different Light”, “A Jukebox and a Country Song”, “Too Busy Being in Love”, “Addicted to a Dollar", and “Why Didn’t I think of That” to name a few, plus fifteen more top five singles.
After his third album " From the Heart" was certified Gold, Stone was once again back in the studio recording songs for his fourth album, "More Love". With his new album, Stone took on the role of co-producer and was also much more involved in the songwriting process, serving as a writer on “Addicted to the Dollar,” the first number one he had a writing credit on. “I’ve always loved writing. I love the creation end of music almost more than the performing end,” Stone says again with a laugh. “It always interested me when I could go into a room with a blank piece of paper and come out with something people would enjoy.”
Stone found in early 1991 that one of the arteries in his heart was almost entirely blocked. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery and took time off to recover, just as his third album, “From the Heart,” was released. With a gold certification for shipments of 500,000 copies, “From the Heart” included two Number Ones among its four singles: “Too Busy Being in Love” and “Why Didn’t I Think of That.” The other two singles were “Warning Labels” and “Made for Lovin’ You,” at No. 4 and No.6 respectively. One month later Stone released an album titled “The First Christmas.”
In June 1994 Stone was having breathing problems, which were affecting his singing. Doctors at Vanderbilt University’s medical center failed to find any problems in his throat. However, a second consultation revealed a lump in his nostril but amazingly it was not cancerous. While Stone was undergoing treatment, his" Greatest Hits, Vol.1" compilation was released in late 1994.This album included the new song “Little Houses, “which debuted on the charts in October 1994.
Stone also made his acting debut in 1995 film “Gordy.” “Gordy,” is a heartwarming story featuing Doug as Luke McAllister, a struggling musician. Gordy paved the way for Stone’s acting career and as well featured several of his songs. In 2011 Doug played another movie role, “When the Storm God Rides,” a Thomas E. Kelly film.
in 2000 Doug's adventures led to him suffering a broken ankle and a cracked rib after crashing his ultra-light plane in Robertson County, TN. An experience that would put him back in the studio recording the self-inspired single “Caught Dead Living”, inspired by Doug’s “larger than life personality”, and zest for living life to its fullest.
Now according to Doug his zest for life could become, shall we say a little too zesty. He was partying more than he should of, and decided one day to say to God, "If this life is leading me straight to Hell Lord, take it away." Well for a number of years, Doug feels that God did just that and although there was never a medical reason found, Doug Stone was unable to sing. When it was the right time, Doug having learnt some hard lessons his ability to sing and his voice returned and Doug followed his passion again into Country music.
In April 2012 Doug Stone hit the road bringing his hits to venues and fans around the country once again. It also inspired him to go back and pull out all the demo sessions he had recorded over the previous 20 years and in 2014 he released the album “Doug Stone ‘The Demo’s’: 20 Years of Life”.
Stone, doubling down on his traditional sound in the 2020's released "Mama’s Songbook", a collection of 10 classic Country songs that he remembers his mother singing as he was initially falling in love with Country music, making each of the songs on the album special for him. “All of the songs on this album are really special to me because they bring back great memories of my mama. She passed away in 1997, and she was the one that got me into this music mess,” Stone says, as always with a laugh. “It makes me think about her every time I sing one of those songs.”
As to his personal life, on March 29, 2015, Stone married fiddler Jade Jack in Oklahoma. Doug and Jade have a daughter, Bristol Gail Brooks, born April 14, 2016, and you can just hear in Doug's voice the joy this marriage and daughter has brought to him. Doug feels that Bristol will likely follow his steps into music and states that his little one is "A force to be reckoned with."
Given the opportunity to look back, Stone, who says he is now living a great life in Texas with his family, cherishes the moments he has gotten to share with his fans over the years, and realizes that music has been his true purpose in life. Doug emphasizes this realization with the following story, “I got to wondering one day why I hadn’t died already. I even asked the Lord, with all the health problems that I’ve had, why I was still here,” says Stone. “The very next day, I did a show and a girl came up to me and said that I had brought her through a lot of trouble and heartaches with ‘that Pine Box song.’ I realized that I’m helping people along their path of life. That’s why I’m still here.”
Back to touring and playing live, we now await with anticipation Doug Stone's new album (yet to be named) slated for release in the Fall of 2021. According to Doug this album will be acoustic versions of songs, mimicking how he has been performing during the COVID 19 era. One thing is for sure, Doug Stone made his mark in Country music as a lonesome baritone balladeer, although he is also very adept at hard-up-tempo Country. Doug Stone still to this day, continues to produce Country gold.
By Deborah Gibson