It has been nine years since their farewell tour, and a of couple years since joining Brad Paisley on the number one single, “Old Alabama.” It feels so right to say that Alabama is back with a new album and tour in honor of their 40th year as a band. It would take a forty-hour week to list all the ways Alabama (Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook) influenced country music in the 80’s and 90’s. They racked up tons of CMA and ACM awards, including multiple titles as Entertainer of the Year. They have also sold over 78 million albums and had over 40 number one songs.
Several of those number ones are featured on their latest project “Alabama and Friends.” Many newer country stars join the band to remake some of their biggest hits. There are also two new songs done by just Alabama. The album kicks off with Jason Aldean joining them on “Tennessee River” which is their very first number one single from 1980. It starts off sounding just like the original, but as Jason starts singing you know it has definitely been kicked up a notch. That continues on highlights like Rascal Flatts on “Old Flame,” Kenny Chesney on “Lady Down on Love,” and Trisha Yearwood on “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go.” They all respect the original versions, but definitely add something to make them have a new twist. “That’s How I Was Raised” and “All American” are the two new songs done just by Alabama themselves. They still have that recognizable down home feel of classic Alabama and touch on issues going on today that should make them resonate with everyone.
“Alabama and Friends” is close enough to perfect for pleasing everyone. Longtime Alabama fans can enjoy their hits and fans of the newer artists can enjoy them singing some great songs that they might not be familiar with. Whichever fan category you fall into, you should definitely check out the “Alabama and Friends” album and try to see them as their “Back to the Bowery” tour continues to roll on throughout the year.
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Geoff, Country Music Matters Contributor