Exhibit Opens Aug. 25, 2016, and Runs through June 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 25, 2016 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will delve into the personal stories and significant events of one of the most popular bands in America with Alabama: Born Country. The exhibition will open Aug. 25, 2016, and run through June 2017. It will feature musical instruments, performance clothing, awards, childhood mementos, tour memorabilia, photographs and more.
In support of their exhibit, Alabama, featuring Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, will perform live in the CMA Theater on Wednesday, July 6 for the museum’s exclusive member concert, The Big Gig. For more information on Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum membership and this exclusive concert visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Alabama: Born Country will trace the musical beginnings, the challenges, and the successes of the Country Music Hall of Fame band. Cousins Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Randy Owen formed their first group as teenagers in small-town Fort Payne, Alabama. For a decade, the band honed its unique, crowd-pleasing blend of country music and Southern rock, playing 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 become one of the most beloved bands in the country, scoring over 40 chart-topping singles, selling more than 70 million albums worldwide and setting concert attendance records.
Alabama were trailblazers, performing as a band. At the time, in country music, this was revolutionary. They were true to themselves, the same whether on or off the stage, performing in jeans and sneakers. Their rocking guitars and harmony-based vocals proved immensely influential and popular. Alabama’s sound widened country’s appeal to young listeners. The band has earned many industry awards, including CMA Entertainer of the Year honors for 1982, 1983 and 1984. Alabama was named ACM’s Artist of the Decade, for the 1980s. By 1993 the group had released 32 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight,” “Love in the First Degree,” “Song of the South,” and other classics, often referencing their Southern roots.
Alabama was among the first crossover country acts to play large performance venues, incorporating arena-rock-style production and sounds 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 was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame 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, which earned a Dove award from the Gospel Music Association. Last year Alabama reached #2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart with Southern Drawl, their first album of new material since 2001.
The exhibit will spotlight Alabama’s humanitarian efforts. The group’s long-running June Jam in Fort Payne, Ala., raised millions of dollars for local charities, and their support of St. Jude Children’s Hospital inspired other country artists to follow suit.
Alabama will be inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame on Thursday, May 26 at 1:00 p.m. in Walk of Fame Park in Nashville, Tennessee. The Music City Walk of Fame on Nashville's Music Mile is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration and made a significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City.
For more information about the exhibit, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum collects, preserves, and interprets country music and its history for the education and entertainment of diverse audiences. In exhibits, publications, and educational programs, the museum explores the cultural importance and enduring beauty of the art form. The museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and in 2015 welcomed over one million patrons, placing it among the ten most-visited history museums in the U.S. The Country Music Foundation operates Historic RCA Studio B™, Hatch Show Print® poster shop, CMF Records, the Frist Library and Archive, and CMF Press. Museum programs are supported by the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission.