In the vast tapestry of commercially released music there are stories of triumph and heartache woven into the fabric of every note and every word.
This book challenges the conventional idea of success while it unfolds the winding tale of Country Johnny Mathis, a man whose journey—through the tumultuous currents of the music industry—mirrors the ebb and flow of life itself.
Who better to author such a book than the man who shares the same name as our subject? John Mathis Jr. is a seasoned music business professional who takes it upon himself to unpack the layers of his own father’s existence.
This book is more than a chronicle of a music career. It’s an exploration of the intricate dance between ambition and personal fulfillment—the delicate balance between the pursuit of stardom and the enduring value of authentic connection.
You’ll be invited to step back in time and journey through rural landscapes starting in Maud, Texas, where Johnny Mathis first drew breath in the 1930s. You can expect to navigate the trials of the Great Depression, the rhythms of a holiness Pentecostal upbringing, and the formative years that will set the stage for a life filled with all of the accouterments of country music.
As you turn the pages, you’ll witness the highs and lows of a music career—early successes, missed opportunities, the camaraderie on the Louisiana Hayride, and pivotal encounters with household names like Elvis Presley. This book captures the heartbeat of an era when music underwent transformative shifts, and Johnny stood at the crossroads of tradition and innovation.
The full weight of this story lies both in the spotlight and in the shadows, where regret and the unspoken reside. It’s in the struggles that we discover the humanity within. This story takes a turn when—in the midst of career challenges—Johnny experiences a spiritual awakening that reshapes the course of his life forever.
The heart of the story beats strongly when Johnny pivots from the grand stages of country music to the intimate settings of a church or home. The transition from a wild man of the honky tonks to a family man steering his sons into a harmonious blend of gospel and country. This is where the music becomes a testament to the transformative power of a true faith in God and a commitment to serve Him.
John Mathis Jr. writes with an authenticity that can only come from a son yearning to understand his father’s choices, celebrate his triumphs, and reconcile his imperfections. This is a tribute, not just to a musician, but to a man who navigated the complexities of life with resilience and, ultimately, a supernatural grace.
So remember… Every song is a story, has a story, and is written by someone with a story.
(Foreward from the book: ‘Country Johnny Mathis – Sometimes Stardom Ain’t Enough’)
Timothy J. Trudeau