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Jan 14 2020

The Official Website of The Alabama Band ^ Video

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The Official Website of The Alabama Band ^ Video, NEF6.COM

Alabama

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The Alabama Band

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It’s been 40 years since a trio of young cousins left Fort Payne, Alabama, to spend the summer playing in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bar called The Bowery. It took Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook six long years of tip jars and word of mouth to earn the major label deal they’d been dreaming of, but then seemingly no time at all to change the face of country music.

ALABAMA is the band that changed everything. They reeled off 21 straight #1 singles, a record that will probably never be equaled in any genre. They brought youthful energy, sex appeal and a rocking edge that broadened country’s audience and opened the door to self-contained bands from then on, and they undertook a journey that led, 73 million albums later, to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

About The Band

It’s been 40 years since a trio of young cousins left Fort Payne, Alabama, to spend the summer playing in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bar called The Bowery. It took Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook six long years of tip jars and word of mouth to earn the major label deal they’d been dreaming of, but then seemingly no time at all to change the face of country music.

ALABAMA is the band that changed everything. They reeled off 21 straight #1 singles, a record that will probably never be equaled in any genre. They brought youthful energy, sex appeal and a rocking edge that broadened country’s audience and opened the door to self-contained bands from then on, and they undertook a journey that led, 73 million albums later, to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

ALABAMA & Friends commemorates that summer at The Bowery and catalogues the lasting influence the group has had on generations of Country stars who draw inspiration from the sparkling harmonies, irresistible stage presence and world-class songwriting and song selection that made them superstars. It brings together some of Country’s biggest stars, each bringing a unique musical approach to classic ALABAMA songs that have influenced them.

The diversity and star power of the artists speaks volumes about the breadth and depth of ALABAMA’s legacy. Contributing their own versions of Alabama classics are Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line, Jamey Johnson, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, and Trisha Yearwood.

“I thank God I’m here to see these great artists see fit to sing some of the songs we did,” says Randy, with the Everyman sincerity that has helped so many identify with the humbly born superstars.

“It’s very much an honor,” adds Jeff, “that they’d take part in an ALABAMA tribute. We had a lot of fun working with them, and I think the finished product testifies to both the fun and the quality that went into it.”

The songs chosen for the project represent just the tip of the iceberg that is the band’s catalog, but they speak, to hear Teddy tell it, to the key to the band’s legacy.

“More than anything,” he says, “our longevity is a tribute to the hard work we did in selecting songs, because it’s the songs that people remember.”

The songs here are, of course, among the most memorable in country history. Included are “My Home’s In Alabama,” the band’s first major hit and the song that introduced them to the world; “Tennessee River,” their very first #1; “Old Flame” and “Love in the First Degree,” from their second RCA album; “Lady Down On Love,” a harmony-laden example of Randy’s songwriting prowess; “The Closer You Get,” released halfway through their streak of 21 chart-toppers; “She And I,” from the mid-’80s; and “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” and “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),” which helped kick off the ’90s, in which the boys earned 29 more chart hits, including 22 #1 or Top 5 singles.

Capping the project are two new tracks by ALABAMA, songs that find the band making music that sounds both classic and relevant. They worked with legendary producer Harold Shedd, who worked with them in those golden early days and went on to discover Shania Twain, Toby Keith and many others.

“I suggested to Jeff and Teddy that Harold work with us on the new stuff,” says Randy, “and they agreed. It was spine-tingling when he said yes. It’s a story-book episode in my life and in the career of ALABAMA to have Harold being on board and to see him as excited as we were after all these years.”

“We hadn’t worked together in years,” adds Shedd, “but within a couple of hours we had some things that sounded like ALABAMA did in 1980. It was like ALABAMA reborn.”

“I always worry about putting out anything new at this point,” Teddy says with a laugh, “knowing it has to stand up to a pretty strong track record,” but agrees the new material does just that. He calls “That’s How I Was Raised” “right down the heart of the plate simple country song that showcases our harmonies,” and “All American” “a song that says a lot of things that need to be said about our country.”

The project came about as the trio realized their 40th anniversary was at hand.

“We got to talking and said, ‘Let’s do some shows and play some of the places we haven’t played before, like the Ryman and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta,’” says Teddy.

“We kicked off the tour in Myrtle Beach and took our music back to our fans,” adds Jeff. “We’ve all done enjoyable projects separately in the years since our last tour, but we all realize we’re stronger as a unit.”

“And then as we talked,” says Randy, “we started talking about a CD project and maybe getting some other artists involved.”

The format they chose enables them to celebrate those humble beginnings and their stratospheric accomplishments. Of the former, Jeff says, “I don’t think we thought too far ahead. We were more concerned with paying our bills at the end of the week playing music.”

The Bowery was a chance to get established outside their home turf, where they’d played a nearby theme park, opening for national acts like Bobby Bare.

“We believed we had something pretty special from a vocal standpoint,” says Teddy, “and we were looking for the opportunity to prove it. There were a lot of times when we wondered whether we might be better off going back home and getting jobs, but we just kept rehearsing and writing songs, trying to get better and believing we could do it.”

“I went to see them at The Bowery,” says Shedd, “and the sound that these three guys could create together was just really something. I saw the crowd reacting to music they’d never heard before as though they had. They were doing some covers, but a lot of the ALABAMA show at the time was original material, including stuff that wound up on the first three albums we did together.”

The band was revolutionary in more than one sense.

“We were renegades in sneakers and T-shirts,” says Teddy. “We had long hair and played loud and some of the country folks resisted us for a while. But then of course they did accept us and then after that, our success made it lots easier for other bands to try it in country music.”

The fact that some of the heirs of that legacy–Eli Young Band, Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line–are among the stars paying tribute on Alabama & Friends is part of their legacy as surely as the awards and plaudits they’ve earned through the years. And those, of course, have been legion. They include more than 150 major industry nods, including two Grammys, the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian award, Entertainer of the Year awards three times from the CMA and five times from the ACM, as well as the latter’s Artist of the Decade award. They earned 21 Gold ®, Platinum ® and Multi-Platinum ® albums and were named the RIAA’s Country Group of the Century.

But awards are only a part of a legacy that finds its most important home in the hearts of listeners everywhere. Some of those are superstars in other genres, as Randy found out not long ago.

“I was part of a benefit concert at the Ryman,” he says, “and I look over there’s Jon Bon Jovi. He walked over and said hello and it turns out he likes our music.”

Many more, of course, are everyday country fans.

“A lot of fans will start a conversation with, ‘I don’t want to bother you,'” says Jeff, “but what they don’t understand is that everything that’s happened to us, every one of those awards, happened because we’ve been accepted and supported by our fans.”

Not long ago, Teddy was witness to a scene that shows that their legacy of song remains as fresh as it was when that streak in the ’80s kicked it all off.

“I was in Nashville,” he says, “walking by this club full of young people–I’m talking 18 or 20. The band started playing ‘Dixieland Delight’ and everybody in the place started singing and sang all the way through. I had to smile at the longevity of the songs. Maybe some of those kids didn’t even know who ALABAMA was, but they knew the music, and so I think that’s a tribute to the fact that we spent a career putting out good songs that stand the test of time.”

With ALABAMA & Friends, all of us who agree get to celebrate that accomplishment and its legacy one more time.

About Teddy Gentry

Teddy Wayne Gentry was born in Fort Payne, Alabama on January 22, 1952. At an early age, Teddy moved to nearby Lookout Mountain with his mother to live with his grandfather, Paw Paw. Paw Paw lived in a wooden frame house on a 60 acre cotton farm.

After graduating from High School , early in his music career, Teddy worked many other jobs to pay the rent. Teddy recalls he did just about everything, “I ran a theatre, I laid carpet, I bagged groceries and I worked on a farm.”

When not playing with Alabama, Teddy enjoys spending time with his family and directing operations at his Bent Tree Farms. After receiving his first check from RCA records in 1980 for $61,000, he asked his wife Linda what he should do with the money. She answered, “What means the most to you?” “Why don’t you buy your grandfathers farm–where you were raised, because I know you love the old place.”

Well, that’s exactly what he did. His grandfather agreed to sell the 60-acre cotton farm, soon to be named Bent Tree Farms, for $1000 an acre, where he had lived since the late 1920’s.

By 1980, Teddy’s grandfather was no longer able to farm the land and wished for Teddy to take over the farm. Teddy’s interest in the cattle business had continued to grow so in 1981 he purchased a neighboring farm that had belonged to his great-grandfather, Owen. The purchase of the new 60 acre farm grew the total farm size to around 140 acres.

Where did Bent Tree Farms get it’s name? Teddy explains: “My son Josh was in the second or third grade. One night we were going over rhymes, we had rhymed several words and suddenly I said our last name — Gentry. To which he replied, Bent Tree. I was telling one of the boys working on the farm the next day about my son’s saying Bent Tree. He replied, ‘You know what a bent tree is?’ I said, ‘no.’”

“He said, ‘In Oklahoma, where I used to live, there were Bent Trees that the Indians would bend over when the trees were small and tie them to the ground, to point the direction the tribe was moving at the time.’”

“I contacted a lady at the Alabama Historical Society who told me there were bent trees along the top of Lookout Mountain and Little River Canyon where our farm is. When we found out this information, we decided to change the name of the farm to Bent Tree Farms.”

When it comes to music Teddy plays by ear and has written hundreds of songs. He has co-written many of the Alabama hits — “How Do I Fall In Love,” “Why Lady Why,” “My Home’s In Alabama,” “Fallin’ Again,” “Give Me One More Shot,” “Sad Lookin’ Moon,” to name a few. He’s also the founder and president of Creative Cafe.

Teddy was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in November 2005 along with his partners in Alabama. As part of his acceptance speech Teddy remarked, “Being put into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the greatest achievement of Alabama’s career. I am moved and honored to be in the elite company of my heroes.”

One of Teddy’s favorite career memories was the night ACMA presented Alabama with “The Entertainer Of The Year Award.” That was a dream come true for him and the band. Teddy enjoys reading fan mail, especially “from the young fans” and wants all their fans to “Turn other people on to our music.” When asked if he had any thoughts for the fans, Teddy says, “I would like to extend many thanks for your support over the years and I hope that we can always put out a piece of product that will make the fans proud of us.

About Randy Owen

Randy Yeuell Owen was born at The Guest’s Clinic in Fort Payne, Alabama on December 13, 1949. Randy was raised with his two younger sisters in a frame farmhouse near Adamsburg, Alabama in DeKalb County, very close by to Lookout Mountain. Randy is married with three children.

After graduating from Fort Payne High School, Randy attended Jacksonville State University. Randy’s hobbies include watching sports of all kinds, writing short stories, and composing poetry. In the kitchen, Randy also prefers to eat vegetables, home-raised meats, and home cooking. When not playing with Alabama, Randy enjoys listening to The Eagles, Anne Murray, and Ronnie Milsap.

When not touring with Alabama, Randy says he enjoys being alone with immediate family and most importantly, away from the telephone. While on the job, he strums a smooth and steady rhythm guitar and sings most of the solo vocals on the group’s hits. He has played music since the age of 6 and has been playing with Alabama for 28 years. Randy plays by ear and says that he doesn’t know how many songs he has written but jokes that “some of them have been recorded on the albums.”

Before and during his early music career, Randy took jobs laying brick, painting, farming, and hanging sheet rock. He says his long range goals are “To help my family achieve a gentle way of living and to be known as friendly to the fans and have a good reputation with fellow musicians.”

His favorite career memory is winning both the ACM and CMA Entertainers of the Year for three years in a row. When asked if there was anything he wanted of the fans, Randy asked “I want the fans to enjoy themselves and feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth from our concerts and records. Also, I want them to understand that they are the most important people in our lives.” Randy said that if he could only tell his fans one thing, it would be “I love and appreciate all of you.”

About Jeff Cook

Born and reared in Fort Payne, Alabama, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Jeff has been playing lead guitar and keyboards in bands since the age of thirteen.

Securing a broadcast license only three days after his 14th birthday, Jeff went to work as a disc jockey at a local radio station. The “Broadcast Bug” had gotten into Jeff’s blood and later resulted in him owning radio and TV stations. After graduating from Fort Payne High School, Jeff received a degree in Electronic Technology from Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Alabama and was named “Outstanding Alumni” by the American Association of Community Colleges. Jeff says that radio combines two of his favorite things, music and electronics.

In 1985, Jeff, along with Albert Lee and Steve Morse were named the top three guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine’s Reader Poll. Jeff plays electrifying lead guitar, and all of those “hot licks” on the fiddle you hear are Jeff, too. Between the guitar and fiddle you would think Jeff stays pretty busy. Well, ‘Mr. Energy’ has been deemed the “workhorse” of the group AND also plays keyboards, bass and mandolin. In his time off the road and in addition to music, Jeff enjoys coming to Fort Payne to work on electronics projects, go bass fishing, watch TV, and work in his recording studio, Cook Sound Studios.

One of Jeff’s lifelong dreams has come true with the construction of Cook Sound Studios. The studio is a way for Jeff to help other musicians share their music with others, just as Alabama has had the opportunity to do. In Jeff’s words, “This area (DeKalb County) has it’s share of talented musicians and now the opportunity is there for each of them to cut demos, records, etc. at an affordable price, plus it’s nice to share your dreams with others.”

He married former Delta flight attendant, Lisa Williams, on June 9, 1995. They live in “The Castle,” their home atop Lookout Mountain overlooking Fort Payne. “The Castle” was the very first project of Jeff’s construction company BassBuilders. They now spend a lot of time on Lake Guntersville, Alabama. Since the Governor of Alabama gave Jeff a lifetime appointment as “Alabama State Fishing Ambassador,” Jeff says “With a title like State Fishing Ambassador, I feel like I need to live on a lake.” They have no children but are quite content with their two Shelty dogs, BooBoo and Blazer, which they refer to as “the furry boys.” The Governor also proclaimed August 27th as Jeff Cook Day in the State of Alabama

One of Jeff’s favorite cities is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where he, with Alabama, spent seven summers playing their music for various crowds. His favorite states, outside of Alabama of course, are Florida and parts of California. Jeff says he has been playing music since “Three days before dirt.”

Since Alabama left the road in 2004, Jeff did not miss a beat forming the Allstar Goodtime Band (AGB). Jeff and this eight piece band have several CD’s out which include several number one songs on the Independent charts. “Having a horn section has enabled us to widen the scope of our music” Jeff says.

Jeff’s message to the fans is “Thank you for all of your support of ALABAMA– AIN’T WE HAVIN’ FUN NOW!”

Keep your eyes and ears open for Alabama and the Jeff Cook and the Allstar Goodtime Band!

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SOURCE: http://www.thealabamaband.com/

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