50 Years of Mountain Music: Alabama Still Strong After All These Years

Alabama brought their mountain music to Albany on Friday, February 8h. The Times Union Center celebrated with over 5,000 fans clapping along to Alabama’s 50th Anniversary tour, complete with old favorites “High Cotton” and “Roll On Eighteen Wheeler.” Band members danced and jumped along joyfully celebrating 50 years of country hits and friendship between cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry.  Their third cousin, Jeff Cook, sadly wasn’t there. But the band played on with high energy, hopefulness, and a strong sense of family fondly connected to Alabama.

Randy Owen entertained with stories between songs, shaking hands at one point with a farmer and identifying his trade “by the feel of his hands.” The hominess and warmth toward farmers and veterans was heart felt; fans cheered as Owen pumped his fist when the fan announced he was “a veteran farmer.”

Owen, wearing all black and a sweet scarf, a few times jumped up and down in excitement, only to slow himself, stating, “They tell me not to jump so I don’t hurt my back.”  Fans would never guess Owen is 69 years young; his spry dancing, high energy clapping, and strong vocals defied age. His narrative, though, gave a bit of a hint: he dedicated one song to his great granddaughter, Lucy.

Fans appeared to include many multigenerational families, including many mothers and daughters clad in flannel and cowgirl hats.  When Owen noted they had to reschedule from January due to a snow storm, he suggested the band should’ve come back in the warmer weather. Fans hooted and hollered, laughing and clapping at his observations of upstate winters.

The band played “Roll On Eighteen Wheeler,” a hit they admitted they hadn’t played on stage in years. Additionally, they brought up their opening group, Exile, to join them for “Closer You Get.”

Perhaps one of the most tender moments of the night was the performance of “Angels Among Us.” Owen explained the band, in conjunction with country stations across the country, had raised over $800 million for St. Jude over his career.  The lights dimmed, and fans held up cell phones to reflect the heart felt and gentle support of kindness toward strangers.

The encore was not, sadly, “Song of the South,” but “Mountain Music.” With so many top hits in their career, the band had a wide selection to choose from, as noted in the set list below.

Alabama is still going strong at 50 years, and their fans are clearly looking forward to at least a few more.

Set List: If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)Tennessee RiverHigh CottonBorn CountryCan’t Keep a Good Man DownDown HomeYou Are So Beautiful (Cover – Billy Preston),Turn It OffDixieland Delight,Will the Circle Be Unbroken?Dixieland Delight (reprise)Old Flame, Feels So RightLady Down on LoveRoll On (Eighteen Wheeler), The Closer You Get (with EXILE),Angels Among Us, Encore: Mountain Music

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