Play Me Some Mountain Music: Alabama Live in Concert [PICTURES]
Since forming as Wildcountry in their now-namesake state in 1969, Alabama have been performing live — first in bars in the Southeast United States, then onto larger and larger venues as they grew more and more successful. The harmonies of Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry, a signature of the band’s sound, are elevated in a live setting, bringing a little something extra to their blue-collar working-man anthems and heartbreak tunes.
Alabama signed with RCA Records in the late 1970s and hit their stride in the ’80s: They earned more than 25 No. 1 songs — including a streak of 21 consecutive No. 1s that began with their first single with RCA, “Tennessee River” — and eight consecutive No. 1 studio albums. Although they briefly disbanded, following a farewell tour, in the mid-2000s, Alabama have remained iconic in country music.
In the spring of 2017, Alabama will begin a new chapter in their touring history: As of April 29, Cook will no longer tour regularly with the band due to his Parkinson’s disease, a diagnosis he revealed on April 11, after keeping it quiet for a few years. Other musicians will cover his parts.
“We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” Gentry says. “Alabama has surpassed what any of us ever dreamed of, but I still love to play more or as much as I did [yesterday], and I know Jeff does, too.”
Cook plans to continue to join Alabama in the recording studio and, when he’s feeling up to it, sing live. Owen and Gentry hope to have Cook back out on the road regularly, should his health improve.
“Whenever he can come be there, he will,” Owen says. “And I think he will. I believe he will. I don’t see the future, but I feel the future.”
Click through the photo gallery above to see some photos of Alabama live in concert throughout the years.