By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"That is our own fault. It was greed. We were living in a fantasy world. It didn't help living in that home in Payson, with seven bathrooms, four fireplaces, Jacuzzis in all the rooms, on the golf course. We were letting all of our friends come and stay as long as they wanted. We were living like kings. We were convinced we were gonna have it all. You couldn't have stopped us."
To this day the Macys aren't sure what happened to the coal leases and all the cash they funneled in. Never once did they retain a lawyer.
But after trying to buy happiness, they realized that working for their child's future was everything.
"It was my fault for being so ignorant," says Macy. "One thing I am not is very educated when it comes to what to do with money after you make it. That's where I lacked by not going to college.
"Money--I have a knack for making money. You know, any fool can make money. It takes a wise man to keep it."
The Macys say their plunge taught them to believe in one another.
"I tell Bob all the time that I wished we would have never gone through it. But on the other hand, if we hadn't gone through it, we wouldn't be the couple we are," Debbie says. "I wanted that great life as much as he wanted it. We both wanted to have life be easy. But you know, there is no such thing. Yet, I found out by being broke, by being out on the street, by having no car, no credit. We went from the very top of the hill, driving beautiful cars, living in beautiful homes, down to asking people if we could stay with them."
The loss sent Bob into a downward spiral, a kind of nervous breakdown that gave him ulcers and eventually contributed to a life-threatening infection. He wound up in the hospital in quarantine. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong.
"The nurses, the doctors, nobody would even come in my room because it stunk so bad," says Macy ruefully. "And they were afraid, because nobody knew what I had. Debbie would literally have to come in and clean me and wait on me."
At one point, he was told he wouldn't survive the night.
Debbie got on the phone and frantically called other doctors for help. Miraculously, she found one who could identify what was wrong with her husband--he had a fissure in his lower intestine that required an immediate and risky operation.
The doctor Debbie found saved Bob's life.
By 1998, the Macys had hooked up with some musicians in west Phoenix and Cody was making regular guest appearances on early slots around the Valley. She appeared with a band called Mogollon at Country Thunder and caught the ear of a well-connected ex-country musician by the name of Dudley Calhoun.
Calhoun was floored by what he heard, introduced himself to the Macys and hooked them up with Bobby Charles, a Dallas-based songwriter/producer.
Charles and Calhoun produced a four-song CD that Macy paid for, with Charles writing or co-writing all four songs specifically for Cody. The record was hastily done at a studio in Garland, Texas. Cody learned the songs just before laying down the vocals.
The disc, Spoiled Rotten, was meant as a calling card to sell locally at shows. The initial run of 1,000 has nearly sold out. Though inconsistent, the recording is remarkable, considering it is the first time Cody, then 10, had ever recorded.
Charles, 53, has worked with LeAnn Rimes and countless others in his decades in country music. He was a staff songwriter for Mel Tillis' publishing company out of Nashville and has written songs that did well on the country charts. His son, Bobby Charles Jr., is the Dixie Chicks' bass player.
Charles says that Cody's first record "wasn't all that good, to be honest with you. I produce those kind of things all the time, and I didn't really think this would be any different, which it really wasn't. She has just come along leaps and bounds in the time between that first little four-song CD and the one we did in Nashville."
The second CD, Love in Motion, recorded earlier this year in Nashville--and again paid for by Macy--is sonically superior and more focused than her first. Charles put together a cast of first-rate Nashville session cats to back Cody. But this CD, too, was done on a shoestring budget--$9,000, a paltry sum in the world of record-making.
This time, Charles brought in a young songwriter named Dave Smith to help with some of the writing and engineering, a move that has most of the songs, with Cody's voice attached, ringing like the sound of 10,000 cash registers.
On "My Babe," which is stroked by a soaring steel guitar line and driven by pounding Jerry Lee Lewisesque piano, Cody exercises her love of Shania Twain, with the ending line talked out like any gym class locker-room patter: "He is sooo hhhot!"
The disc's best track, "If I Gotta Be a Memory," is a classic Bob Wills-style country ditty sped up with plenty of fiddle and acoustic guitar. The attention getter, "Love in Motion," is pure hitsville country-pop and invites inevitable comparisons to LeAnn Rimes. The song's lyric opens with this bit of funny, if, perhaps, prophetic self-referencing: