Country-rock band Alabama will perform in Columbus on April 28

After 50 years, country-rock group Alabama has earned the right to slow down its schedule compared to what used to be a kind of different city tour every night.

Luckily for Greater Columbus fans, a stop at Value City Arena on April 28 is part of their limited commitments this year.

Alabama got their start in the late 60s and early 70s when cousins ​​Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen and Jeff Cook got together and started playing first for fun, then professionally, with Gentry on bass, Owen on rhythm guitar and Cook on lead. guitar.

At this point, Gentry and Owen form the core of the group, with Cook having largely fallen behind due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

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“After years of doing it, I just turned 70 and Randy 72, we love trying to put on a good show, surround ourselves with good musicians, honor the music and the songs,” Gentry said, speaking by phone from his home in Lookout Mountain, Alabama.

“It’s a long show and we try not to overwork ourselves. We want it to be fun, for us and for the audience. When you get out and get on that bus, four or five hundred miles a night, it’s no longer fun.

Alabama has 50 years of music to choose from

With a huge catalog of hits, Alabama has plenty of songs to choose from, and audiences should expect surprises with the songs they might expect.

“We’re doing stuff that we haven’t done in a while – ‘Give Me One More Shot’, ‘Sad Lookin’ Moon’ – some of the songs we wrote in the later years rather than the early years. C “It’s a big problem to have, when you have more hits than you can fit in your set. Most of the time, we change at least a few songs per show. It helps us stay on our toes,” Gentry said.

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Songwriting continued for Gentry, who co-wrote many of the group’s hits, during time off from touring during the pandemic.

“We’re not in a ‘must’ phase of writing, it’s more of a ‘want to’ phase, or maybe a ‘need’ phase. Once a writer, always a writer, I guess,” he said. declared.

He writes sometimes alone, sometimes with others.

“It’s a bit like fishing for me. I like to fish alone, but it’s a little more fun if you have someone else to fish with. If the fish doesn’t bite, or if you don’t hear a song, you’re still having a great day together. I used to “force writing”, forcing myself to write. I was perfecting my craft, learning how to write a better song, how to write a simpler song.

“I always love songwriting, and I actually wrote a song for my wife called ‘Thank You’. It’s a simple little song, but everyone who heard it, it brought them a tear in the eye.

Alabama plans new releases

The group also plans to release more music.

“We have a really good live album in the box that we’re about to release over the next six months. We’re planning to put some new songs on it for the fans. And yesterday we did something fun. They are doing a tribute album of all the Bill Gaither songs, and we did a song called “Somewhere Between Jesus and John Wayne”.

When he’s not making music, Gentry raises cattle. He and his wife live on what was his grandfather’s old cotton farm, where he raises grass-fed cattle.

But he is happy to be back on the road soon.

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“I always tell myself before going on stage that there is probably someone there who is seeing us for the first time. And I want to make sure that person walks away with a favorable impression,” Gentry said.

“Me and Randy really appreciate that we can still do what we do and have fun doing it and bring great music to people,” Gentry said. “And I would like to thank the musicians we have with us. We have some of Nashville’s finest musicians playing with us on the road. It makes our life easier. We can pass the ball to them from time to time. It’s our job to take people’s problems out and let them have fun.

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In one look

Alabama will perform at 7 p.m. on April 28 at Value City Arena, West Lane Avenue and Olentangy River Road. Tickets start at $21. (614-688-3939, www.schottensteincenter.com)

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