Legendary country group Alabama are coming out of retirement and are preparing to release brand new music.
Southern Drawl, due out September 18, will be the band’s first album of new music in 14 years. Member Teddy Gentry told USA Today that he credits Brad Paisley for helping bring them back together for his 2011 single Old Alabama. Soon after, an outbreak of tornadoes hit the state of Alabama, which led the former band mates to assemble a benefit concert in Birmingham that raised more than $1 million.
“That’s what really brought us out of retirement,” Gentry says. “After being off the road for a few years, I guess getting together and playing brought back the element of why we got together to start with — because it was fun. It had gotten to the point where it wasn’t as much fun.”
The band has stayed active musically in recent years, with the release of Alabama & Friends, a collaboration with artists including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. The group also recorded a gospel album with Bill Gaither sold exclusively through Cracker Barrel. Southern Drawl will also be sold in the restaurant’s country store, and will be available for pre-order through QVC in August.
“So many people are lining up to be supportive of Alabama,” says BMG Chrysalis executive vice president Kos Weaver. “I feel like they’ve made a competitive record on a lot of fronts, something that radio will play and something country music fans will get excited about.”
Although they went on a massive farewell tour in 2003, Alabama has been back on the touring scene since 2013. They plan on playing 25 to 30 shows each year, including a three-night string of shows at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center next May.
“I’m so thankful people care about the music we made,” Owen says. “They still come to the concerts, and they’re very enthusiastic. Hopefully, this new music will be something they’ll enjoy. I put everything I had in it.”