"I'm in it for the long run."
As the lead singer of the legendary group Alabama, Randy Owen would appear to have seen and done it all – 73 million albums sold, countless miles on the road touring, a warehouse full of awards and a coveted spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Yet this singer/songwriter/ entertainer/rancher embarked on a new path in 2008 – a solo career with a new albumOneOnOne, his memoirs “Born Country,” a national tour with a 10-piece band and an attitude and work ethic that rivals a brand new artist.
“I’m as excited about this as I’ve ever been,” said Owen. “Before I decided to do the solo thing, we put a band together and did some dates late last year to see if the fans were still out there. When I came back I was totally convinced we needed to do this.”
Randy teamed up with John Rich to produceOneOnOnefor the powerhouse independent label Broken Bow Records. The multi-faceted Rich, who has produced Gretchen Wilson, his own duo Big & Rich, James Otto, Jewel, and John Anderson’s critically-acclaimedEasyMoneyalbum, jumped at the chance to work with the legend. “John’s so smart about what he wants to hear,” said Randy of the experience. “And the musicians he works with in the studio understand what he wants. We really took our time with it and didn’t rush it, and I’m really pleased with what we came out with.”
His long connection with his fans is the exact reason he titled the albumOneOnOne.“I feel like this album is a real personal thing – me to you,” he says passionately. “The song ‘One On One’ is one of the most personal songs on the album.”
“Personal” is also a very fitting description for most ofOneOnOne.From the touching “Braid My Hair,” which writers Chris Gray and Brent Wilson – who never had a song released as a single – graciously donated 100% of the publishing proceeds from the song to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to “Pray Me Back,” “Holding Everything,” “Slow and Steady” to the perfect wedding song “No One Can Love You Anymore,” Randy lays his heart on the line.
The mood of the new album runs the gamut from the passionate “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers for the Night,” and “I Confess” to the remorseful “Like I Never Broke Her Heart” to the fun “Urban’s On The Country Radio” and the wistful Caribbean-themed “Barbados.”
For over 30 years Randy has been the front man and lead vocalist of one of the most prolific groups in the history of music. The band signed a recording contract with RCA Records in 1980, launching a career that to date has resulted in 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums yielding 42 #1 singles. Alabama received over 150 industry awards including eight “Entertainer of the Year” honors, two Grammys, two People’s Choice Awards and their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They were named the “Artist of the Decade” by the Academy of Country Music and “Country Group of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America. In November 2005, Randy and his Alabama band mates received Country Music’s highest honor, being inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. In May, 2008, the city of Ft. Payne, Alabama honored their favorite sons with life-size bronze statues in the heart of town.
“I’m very proud of everything we accomplished, and I hold what we did with Alabama as a very sacred part of my life,” Randy concludes.
Randy’s passion for helping others is evident through the types of causes he and the band choose to support. Alabama played an integral role in raising millions of dollars for schools, public service organizations, hospitals, youth ranches and scholarships. But no organization is dearer to Randy’s heart than the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In 1989, Randy was asked fill in for ailing St. Jude founder Danny Thomas as the keynote speaker for the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. Inspired by the dreams and determination of Thomas, Randy offered a challenge to those in attendance to accept Danny’s dream of eradicating childhood cancers and other catastrophic diseases. Randy delivered the message well, and Country radio accepted the challenge with passion. “Country Cares for St. Jude Kids” was born.
“I called it the ‘Miracle on Beale Street,’” said Randy, referring to St. Jude being based in Memphis and the city’s most famous street.
The national radiothon program is today the most successful radio fundraiser in history. Hundreds of radio stations and the entire music industry have joined hands and forces to fight the never ending battles of childhood cancer and other diseases. The events have raised an astounding $365 million since Randy’s challenge in 1989.
For his efforts, last year Tony Thomas, son of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, presented Randy with the prestigious Founder’s Award – an honor that Danny only bestowed on very special occasions. In accepting the award, Owen acknowledged the fans of country music, the men and women of country radio and the country music industry for embracing Danny’s dream. Just this year, Randy accepted an NAB Education Foundation’s Celebration of Service To America Award on behalf of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids for the ongoing success of the program.
Randy was recently back in Washington DC where The Friends of the National Library of Medicine organization chose him to receive the Paul G. Rogers Public Service Award for his many years of work with St. Jude. And on May 10, 2008, Randy Owen was honored to receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in a ceremony held in New York City.
When not on the road promoting his music career, Randy can be found operating his successful working cattle ranch “Tennessee River Music” on the grounds of his Lookout Mountain boyhood family farm. “Tennessee River Music” has garnered many national, regional and state championships in the registered Polled Hereford Breed. Each May, he hosts his major Hereford cattle sale at his ranch. He performs at the event, and all concert proceeds are donated to the Hereford Youth Foundation which is dedicated exclusively to scholarship and educational support of youth in the business of raising Hereford cattle.
No one would blame Randy Owen if he decided to sit back and enjoy his legendary status as one of the founding members and lead vocalist of the Recording Industry Association of America Country Group of the Century, yet his heart still burns to take new music to the fans who have been touched by his words, his music.OneOnOne– both on radio and on stage -is sure to give back to the fans what God has given him.
“I still love to get out and play. I’m head-over-heels into this album, and I’m in it for the long run.”
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