NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Alabama's Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry backstage during The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Presents an Interview with Alabama at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in The CMA Theater on November 5, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Alabama Releases Statement About Jeff Cook's Death: 'I'm Hurt in a Way I Can't Describe'

Alabama's Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry have both shared written statements about the Nov. 7 death of their bandmate of 50 years and cousin, Jeff Cook.

Owen shared that he's "hurt in a way I can't describe" following Cook's passing at age 73 following a decade-long battle with Parkinson's disease.

"He lived to play our music we created together," Owen wrote. "He could play any instrument he chose, but his harmonies I'll miss the most. I'm thankful we got to create music together for over 50 years. Wish we could play 'My Home's in Alabama' one more time."

Gentry described a bond beyond what's to be expected between cousins of similar ages, geographic origins and musical tastes.

"Jeff, along with me and Randy, experienced the highs of undreamed success, as well as some very tough early years," Gentry shared. "None of us were perfect, but together we had something so special it will never die. No other guitar player I've known had the range of styles Jeff had. No one can take your place. Ever. Rest in peace till we get to jam again."

Cook played guitar, fiddle and keyboards for Alabama. He also sang lead on such album cuts as the cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River" on 1982's Mountain Music. Gentry plays bass in the band, with Owen as the primary vocalist and rhythm guitarist.

In the early '80s, Alabama set the standard as a self-contained country band— meaning all members played instruments, unlike those of gospel quartet-style vocal groups like the Statler Brothers and Oak Ridge Boys.

Acts crediting Alabama for creating new opportunities in Nashville range from home state peers Shenandoah to Old Dominion, with the latter's members thanking Cook during their Vocal Group of the Year acceptance speech at the 2022 CMA Awards.

"Obviously, we've lost a lot of legends, but there's nobody in this category, and really any category, that would be here without Alabama, and we just lost Jeff Cook," Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey said during the broadcast. "Just got me thinking, and there's nothing like being in a band. I'm just so grateful to have my friends, and I can't imagine losing one of you guys. I'm so happy to be able to make music, and be honored. We love you, and we just love the opportunity to do what we love doing, so thank you guys so much for allowing us."

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