Alabama will return to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. Alabama last performed to a sold out crowd at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on August 9, 2013. Tickets for Alabama go on sale Friday.
It’s been 40 years since a trio of young cousins left Fort Payne, Alabama, to spend the summer playing in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina bar called The Bowery. It took Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook six long years of tip jars and word of mouth to earn the major label deal they’d been dreaming of, but then seemingly no time at all to change the face of country music. Alabama has had 43 No. 1 singles — that includes 21 No. 1 singles in a row, a record that will probably never be equaled in any genre. They brought youthful energy, sex appeal and a rocking edge that broadened country’s audience and opened the door to self-contained bands from then on, and they undertook a journey that led, 73 million albums later, to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The band was revolutionary in more than one sense. “We were renegades in sneakers and T-shirts,” says Teddy. “We had long hair and played loud and some of the country folks resisted us for a while. But then of course they did accept us and then after that, our success made it lots easier for other bands to try it in country music.” The fact that some of the heirs of that legacy — Eli Young Band, Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line — were among the stars paying tribute on Alabama & Friends, their most recent release, is part of their legacy.
Alabama has more than 150 major industry nods, including two Grammys, the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award, Entertainer of the Year Award three times from the CMA and five times from the ACM, as well as the latter’s Artist of the Decade Award. They earned 21 Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum albums and were named the RIAA’s Country Group of the Century.
But awards are only a part of a legacy that finds its most important home in the hearts of listeners everywhere. “A lot of fans will start a conversation with, ‘I don’t want to bother you,’” says Jeff, “but what they don’t understand is that everything that’s happened to us, every one of those awards, happened because we’ve been accepted and supported by our fans.” Not long ago, Teddy was witness to a scene that shows that their legacy of song remains as fresh as it was when that streak in the ‘80s kicked it all off. “I was in Nashville,” he says, “walking by this club full of young people — I’m talking 18 or 20. The band started playing “Dixieland Delight” and everybody in the place started singing and sang all the way through. I had to smile at the longevity of the songs. Maybe some of those kids didn’t even know who Alabama was, but they knew the music, and so I think that’s a tribute to the fact that we spent a career putting out good songs that stand the test of time.”
However, the boys from Fort Payne are not content to rest on past glories. As 2014 neared an end, they concluded a strong tour and celebrated the release of their gospel album, “Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites.” The band is looking forward to 2016 after the release of their first studio album of new material in 14 years and continues touring.
Tickets for Alabama go on sale Friday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Box Offices as well as ticketmaster.com and all authorized TicketMaster outlets.
VENUE: St. Augustine Amphitheatre
DATE: Sunday, February 28, 2016
TIME: Doors 7:00pm / Show 8:00pm
ADMISSION: $110.00 – Seated Pit
$79.50 – Level 100
$69.50 – Level 200
$49.50 – Level 300
$39.50 – Obstructed View
WEBSITE: www.thealabamaband.com; www.staugamphitheatre.com
LOCAL CONTACT: Dianya Markovits, Marketing and Community Relations Manager
Dmarkovits@sjcfl.us (904) 209-3751