Born Country: How Faith, Family, and Music Brought Me Home

Born Country: How Faith, Family, and Music Brought Me Home

by Randy Owen, Allen Rucker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061980374
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 611,001
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

For over twenty-five years Randy Owen was the front man and lead vocalist of Alabama, one of the most prolific groups in the history of music and the biggest country music group of all time. The band has had twenty-one gold, platinum, and multiplatinum albums and forty-two number one singles, and has sold more than 73 million albums. In November 2005, Randy and his Alabama band mates received country music's highest honor when they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Randy's first solo album, One on One, released in November 2008.

An award-winning writer for television, author of nine books of nonfiction and humor, and columnist for Ability Magazine, Allen Rucker has written three books on the HBO series The Sopranos, including the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Sopranos Family Cookbook. He lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Born Country

Chapter One


Round Ole Baugh Road,
Is a great place for kids to grow
Some grow up and move away
Most of us decide to stay
Round Ole Baugh Road.
The neighborhood still looks the same
just new kids with the same old names
My Baugh Road's in a Southern state
Yours may be anywhere, USA
Look around for your Baugh Road.

"Ole Baugh Road" by Randy Owen

My daddy's name is Gladstone Yeuell Owen. My middle name is Yeuell, and so is my son, Heath's. Why his parents gave him such an unusual name, I have no idea. His brothers had more familiar names like Johnny, Albert, Virgil, Riley, and Grady. Mama and some of Daddy's close relatives always called him Gladsten, but the rest of the world just shortened it to G.Y. It made life a whole lot simpler.

I really don't know much about my daddy's side of the family beyond two or three generations back. We've always assumed that the name Owen was Welsh, but I also remember my grandfather, Joseph Ernest Owen, throwing around terms like Scotch-Irish and Black Dutch when I used to pester him as a kid about our family roots. "Black Dutch" was a term used by Anglo-Saxons that referred to anyone with dark complexion of European ancestry. It was also used by American Indians to hide their Indian ethnicity during the time they were less than second-class citizens. I know I have some Indian blood in me, but as to how much and what tribe or strain, I'm clueless.

The Owen family saga I know best begins with my grandfather Owen. Sometime after the Civil War, my grandfather's mother, whose family name was Hester, was living around Armuchee, Georgia, about thirty miles east from where I'm writing this. She had apparently lost her husband, my great-grandfather, perhaps in the war or from pneumonia...I've heard both theories...and married a guy a good fourteen or fifteen years her junior. Because of four years of the bloodiest carnage ever on American soil, good men in the South were hard to find, so she did the best she could, no doubt.

There was just one catch. Husband number two didn't want her two very young children, including my grandpa, around. So my grandpa and his sister Josie, after some period of time, were shipped off to his own grandparents in DeKalb County. They came over in a horse-drawn wagon. There they were raised by my great-great-grandparents Hester and never returned to their home in Georgia.

I got the feeling, as a kid, that my grandfather never cared for his mother and the way she had abandoned her own children. He never said anything bad about her. He just never said anything, period. My cousin Jackie and I once rode our motorcycles over to the Armuchee/Little Sand Mountain area of Georgia to look for our great-grandfather's burial site, but we could never find it. Years later, I located my great-grandmother's grave at a cemetery in the area called Walker's Chapel. It listed her as Mattie Owen, even though her second husband, named Frank Lindsey, is buried right next to her. I think my family designed her tombstone and went out of their way to keep his name off it, though they were officially man and wife. There was not a lot of love between the two families, it's pretty clear, even when it came to grave markers.

My grandparents, Joseph and his wife, Sena SeBell Baugh Owen, lived here all their lives. They had a slew of children and grandchildren. The house my daddy grew up in still stands just a few miles away. It would probably take me all day to drive around this immediate area and say hello to all my cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews who came from this one branch of our family tree. Growing up in the 1950s and '60s, you could go to a community event like a sing-in and half the crowd would be immediate kinfolk or extended-family members. You were always among "your" people, and I loved them all. For me, every family get-together was like a trip to Disneyland.

My mother, born Martha Alice Teague, was the third of seven children of Henry Baughton Teague beloved "Paw Paw"...and Velma Cloe Goodman Teague. All the kids were raised up on a farm in Cherokee County, situated on the eastern ridge of Lookout Mountain where the land was hard, gravelly, and unforgiving. "Over in the valley," my daddy referred to that area. My Paw Paw raised cotton and corn and worked as a logger when he could. The milk cows got the corn, and the cottonseed and the cotton itself were sold to make ends meet. With all those mouths to feed on subsistence farming, those ends seldom met.

My mother claims to this day, "I won't take nothing for it. It made good children out of all of them," she says. The lesson was early and clear: if you got anything, you had to work for it. They were the poorest of the poor, but they never went hungry, even during the worst years of the Depression. My mother often had to walk to school without a long coat in the winter, just a hand-me-down jacket or sweater, but I never heard her complain much about it. In fact, I've never heard her complain much about anything.

I'm sure my mother's growing-up years were far from the often sentimental image of the noble, salt-of-the-earth rural farm family, but despite the obvious hardships and mama had an eleventh-grade education...she and all her siblings survived and thrived. Of the seven children in her family, all now in their seventies and eighties, only one has passed away, and that was only a few months back. A hard life created a hardy stock, that's for sure.

Born Country. Copyright © by Randy Owen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

John P. Moses

“Many volunteers have chosen to support St. Jude because of Randy Owen. He charged the country music industry to support the St. Jude kids. Because of his generosity and determination, Country Cares for St. Jude Kids has been able to continue its life-saving work.”

Dale Morris

“How Randy Owen went from Fort Payne, Alabama to the top of the world is a beautiful story-one that can only happen in America. He is my hero.”

John Rich

“There’s probably not one artist in all of country music that has emerged in the last twenty years that wouldn’t count Randy Owen as a musical hero or an artistic influence, including me. Producing his first solo album was a career milestone for me.”

Dick Clark

“Randy Owen’s story is a fascinating one. He is a true gentleman, armed with an unassuming attitude and a modest approach to life, coupled with enormous fame and success. Born Country is a great read!”

Bob McKay

“A great read from a monster talent. Born Country magic carpet ride from an ordinary man who achieved unparalleled success. Well done my friend.”

Customer Reviews

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Born Country: How Faith, Family, and Music Brought Me Home 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose this book because I am an avid fan of Randy Owen and the group Alabama. I've seen them in concert and purchased many albums. When he talked about growing up "country" and poor, I thought this would be a "real" rags to riches story. It wasn't. It was an "average country boy makes it big" story. I was intrigued by a couple of situations in the book, however. First of all, it appears that Randy and his Mom are not very close. She, as he tells the story, remains "country" and doesn't need the modern day conveniences that he can now afford to provide her. I see that as a strong woman determined to remain true to herself and her community. He mentions that he passes by and honks the horn every morning to let her know that he is passing by. As a mom, I'd much rather he stop in for a cup of coffee or a quick hello. It sounds as though if his dad were still alive, he would be visiting often. Secondly, it seems that he works really hard at staying away from any conversation about the group Alabama. He does mention them and their great success, but, there is an underlying feeling of discontent. Of course, I don't know. Overall, I finished the book because I refuse to stop reading a purchased book unless it is just no good. I felt that he rambled a lot. Maybe we all do, but that's what an editor is for. Having read the book cover to cover, I would not consider it worth the price I paid. I would check it out of the library. I still love the group, I still love the man. I'll just enjoy them through music from now on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is a very wonderful book.I enjoyed it deeply. Read it in 2 nights.
I would recommend this to any one.
let people know that there are some good christian people and hard workers, family loving people in the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not know what to expect when I first purchased this book. After only a few pages I was hooked. If you are looking for the history of the band Alabama, you will find some of this however it is not the primary focus of the book. Rather, this book chronicles Randy Owens life through both his time with Alabama and life after the band.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Alabama since the early 80's and I was very excited to get this book and learn more about the band that I have followed for years. All I learned from this book though was boring details about the area of the land around Randy's house. He barely mentions the other band members at all and gives very little information and insight into what occured during all those years on the road. He tries to make himself come across as so humble and so good but fails miserably. For example: He talks about how much he looks out for his elderly mother who lives nearby - Know how he looks after her? .... He drives by her house every morning and honks his horn. Hey Randy - if you actually care so much, why don't you STOP and actually get out of your car and check on her? Please don't waste your money on this book! Wait until this summer and you can purchase it at rummage sales - I know mine will be set out with a price tag of 50 cents on it - that's about how much it's worth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
25jump More than 1 year ago
This book is less than 200 pages. Forgive me but I really did not want to hear about great great grandparents and the fact that they loved music. If you have nothing else to do read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great insight into the life and music of Randy Owen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book about a great man
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such a beautifully written and insightful view of Randy Owen's life. From his very humble early life and how that childhood shaped the man who had incredible fame thrust on him with the group ALABAMA. An amazing behind the scenes look of that fame. You must READ!
TaTaDJ More than 1 year ago
I was raised in Centre, Alabama and this book brought back such good memories of "the canyon" and all its glory. Randy is so much like the wonderful, caring country boys that are part of the great state of Alabama- proud of home, country and mama. I have always been a great fan of the music these boys make and always will be. Reading this book and understanding the drive behind such good music was an inspiration. I hope Randy continues his solo career and does well. I would love to see Alabama reunited though. I sure do miss the good, clean lyrics of music that brings back the memories of my days in the cotton fields of Alabama. This book just makes you feel good knowing there are still souls out there moving forward and giving back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alabama born country
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written straight from the heart. Its very open, candid & honest. It truly tells us about a fine family from Ft Payne.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very informative about the making of Alabama and the many trials he and his family have gone through over the years.
ROFAN More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book about one of the most talented, caring individuals in music. It is a true testament of Randy Owen's sole and his faith. It is very inspiring to know how he grew up and what it means to him to just give back. WHAT A GREAT MAN AND A GREAT BOOK.