Alabama, the most successful – and certainly one of the most influential – bands in country music, will showcase the stories and events that have made them one of the most iconic acts in American music with an exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Opening August 25th and running through June 2017, Alabama: Born Country will feature an array of musical instruments, performance clothing, awards, childhood mementos, tour memorabilia, photographs and more, chronicling the group’s rise from their teenaged roots in Fort Payne, Alabama, to country-pop crossover success in the Eighties and beyond.
Ahead of the exhibit opening, the members of Alabama – Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook – are set to perform live in the Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater on July 6th, for the museum’s exclusive member concert, The Big Gig.
Playing together in their first group, Young Country, in 1969, cousins Cook, Gentry and Owen would showcase their blend of country and Southern rock at a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina bar called the Bowery beginning in 1973. They would serve as the house band there until 1980. That same year, shortly after adding drummer Mark Herndon from Massachusetts, they signed with RCA. More than 30 Number One singles followed, including signature songs such as “Mountain Music” and “Dixieland Delight,” with the band selling in excess of 70 million albums worldwide. In the early Eighties, they won CMA Entertainer and Vocal Group of the Year honors three times each.
In 2005, not long after playing a Farewell tour, Alabama were elected the Country Music Hall of Fame. Their most recent Number One hit found the group name-checked on a tune they performed with Brad Paisley, “Old Alabama.” Today, founding members Cook, Gentry and Owen continue to record and tour, with their 2014 LP, Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites, earning a Dove award from the Gospel Music Association. Last year, they returned to the country charts with Southern Drawl, their first album of new material since 2001.
“I gave more of my heart and soul to this one than anything I’ve been a part of in my life,” Owen told Rolling Stone Country last year. “I approached this album as if it could be my best, my first or my last. We were so glad to be back in the studio, we didn’t take a moment of it for granted.”
In addition to their personal history the museum exhibit will shine a light on the group’s influential humanitarian efforts. Their June Jam in Fort Payne has raised millions of dollars for local charities, and they continue to be one of the most active supporters of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, inspiring countless other acts to follow suit.