As a born and bred Alabama girl I grew up listening to the country sensation group Alabama. And growing up just outside of Jacksonville, Alabama, home of Jacksonville State University, Randy Owen was and still is a legend. JSU is proud to count him among their alumni. I remember attending football and basketball games growing up as well as a student there and he would be there supporting his alma mater. I’m sure he had more than a few autograph seekers, but never did I hear of him being anything less than a gentleman even though I’m sure he probably wanted to just be left alone to enjoy time with his family.
So I was thrilled to see a review on 5 Minutes for Books about his autobiography Born Country.
I found Born Country an easy read. Owen is a great writer and reading his book was like settling down to listen to a friend telling you about his life. It’s not a tell-all book. There’s no gossip about any disagreements the members of the group ever had, but an honest account of the ups and downs of his own life before, during and after the country music group of Alabama.
Owen recounts his upbringing near Fort Payne, Alabama and the group’s rise to stardom with a writing style much like his songwriting. He truly has been given a gift with words. He shares the life lessons and love his parents gave him and how difficult it was losing his father as Alabama’s star began it’s incredible rise.
Not only does he delve into his past and his love for his family and the area in which he was raised, but he also shows us where his heart is. Not only is he still very involved with Jacksonville State University as a member of the Board of Trustees, but raising cattle and teaching the younger generation to work and love the land is very much a passion for him. It is also very obvious what a dear place St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennesse holds in his heart.
One paragraph near the end of the book really struck a chord with me. “I think it would be criminal to see Alabama farmland turned into subdivisions and shopping malls. Even up here on this relatively isolated mountain, I can feel the houses getting closer and closer. The farms need to be left alone.” – Randy Owen (page 221 – Born Country)
Having grown up in the country with farmland surrounding me, I sense the same thing each time I return home to visit my parents. More houses and subdivisions are creeping into the beautiful valley and hills where I was raised so I can understand Owen’s love for Alabama farms.
Randy Owensays in the introduction that he decided to write his autobiography after some prodding from his wife and a few close friends. And I for one am so glad he followed their encourgement.