JAMES BONAMY HAS A RICH, Emotive tenor, some good guitar licks and a hit recording, "I Don't Think I Will," that has spent much of the summer on the country music charts. But as she stood in line for an autograph after his show last month in Pontiac, Mich., Karen Parker, a 33-year-old nanny, happily offered three other reasons for seeing the singer: "his smile, his eyes—and his butt."
Bonamy, at 24, may be country music's hunk of the month, but comments like that still make him wonder. "Everybody talks about my eyes," says the singer, now on a 150-stop tour promoting his debut album, What I Live to Do. "I look in the mirror, and my eyes don't say anything to me." Ah, but those hazel peepers speak volumes to his mostly young and female fans. At the end of his show, admirers "start knocking each other over to get on line to meet him," says Sharon Little, wife of Bonamy's pianist. "They give him roses, Tootsie Rolls, Life Savers, homemade Rice Krispies treats..."
But all for naught. Singing backup with Bonamy each night is wife Amy Jane, 24, to whom he often dedicates the evening's last song. Despite all those eager fans, says Bonamy, "I'm not in the music business to pick up girls. I'm singing about what's real to me."
The couple first met in 1992 while members of a stage show at Nashville's Opryland theme park. Bonamy is the younger of two sons of a Daytona Beach, Fla., auto dealer and his wife, and first heard country music playing over the loudspeakers on Saturday nights at the local dirt track. Amy Jane is the youngest of three children born to a Longview, Texas, high school athletic director and his wife, an insurance-claims manager. "From the day we started dating," says Bonamy, "I knew we were going to get married."
The couple now share a modest tract home in Smyrna, Tenn., where Bonamy mows the lawn and does the washing and ironing. To reinforce that image of domesticity, his mother, Paula, who runs his fan club, always sends young girls the 8-by-10 glossy that shows off his wedding band. "I'm glad they think he's handsome," she says, "but hopefully it's the music that counts."
On the road with hazel eyes and a hot single