‘Alabama: Song Of The South’ Exhibit Opens Aug. 25 At CMHoF

Alabamasongofthesouth

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (CMHoF) will open its Alabama: Song of the South exhibition on Aug. 25, exploring the lives and careers of award-winning country music group.

Expected to run through July 16, 2017, the exhibit will detail the group’s journey to success through childhood mementos, musical instruments, tour memorabilia, awards, photographs, and more. An exhibit companion book will be available for purchase in the museum store the day the exhibition opens.

“Their songs are some of the most memorable in country music,” said Museum CEO Kyle Young. “Their musical talents are monumental. The longevity of their career speaks volumes. We’re thrilled to welcome these Country Music Hall of Fame members into their home, the museum, and to share their story through this exhibition.”

Exhibition highlights include:
• Jeff Cook’s first electric guitar, a 1960s Silvertone U-1, that he played in his first band
• Randy Owen’s Music Man Sting Ray I, used to write hits such as “Mountain Music” and played by Brad Paisley when he recorded his tribute to the group, “Old Alabama”
• Original, handwritten manuscript for “Born Country,” by Byron Hill and John Schweers
• Tabletop radio that belonged to Teddy Gentry’s grandfather, “Paw Paw,” on which Gentry heard country music growing up
• Numerous awards, including Grammy, ACM, and CMA trophies presented to Alabama
• Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar that belonged to Randy Owen’s father, used by Owen on early recordings
• Brocade suit, one of Jeff Cook’s first stage costumes
• Fringed suede shirt, given to Gentry by William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys at Alabama’s first June Jam, 1982

Cousins Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Randy Owen formed their first band as teenagers in small-town Fort Payne, Alabama. For a decade, the band honed its unique blend of country music and Southern rock, playing at nightclubs in the Southeast. In 1979, the group recruited Massachusetts-born Mark Herndon to become their drummer, and the band signed with RCA in 1980. Alabama would go on to score dozens of chart-topping singles, selling tens of millions of albums, and setting concert attendance records.

They were among the first crossover country acts to play large performance venues, incorporating arena-rock-style production and stage movements into their shows. Singing, playing their instruments, and writing many of their songs, Alabama inspired a trend toward the formation and promotion of other self-contained bands in country music.

Alabama joined the CMHoF in 2005. Founding members Cook, Gentry, and Owen continue to record and tour. In 2014 Alabama returned to its Southern gospel roots with Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites, earning a Dove award from the GMA. Last year Alabama reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart with Southern Drawl, their first album of new material since 2001.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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