Country music legends Alabama were the latest band honored with an exhibition detailing their successful career at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The exhibit, entitled Alabama: Song of the South, showcases artifacts from the band’s 40 year career. These include instruments, rare photographs, and other memorabilia tied to band members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook.
Formed in Alabama in 1969, the band spent much of the seventies honing their craft and achieving some minor chart success. It wasn’t until the eighties that Alabama rose to stardom: seven platinum albums, and many truly iconic songs such as “Tennessee River”, “Love in the First Degree”, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta have a Fiddle in the Band)”, and “Song of the South”. The exhibit comes as Alabama gets set to enter the Country Music Hall of Fame this fall.
“This is the center of the history of country music, and to be in the Hall of Fame is the greatest honor we’ve ever been a part of,” bassist Teddy Gentry told reporters. “To be able to have an exhibit that features three guys from Ft. Payne, Ala. … It can’t get any better than this. We’ve been pinching each other to see if it was real or not.”
Unsurprisingly, the main attraction is the numerous guitars that the band wrote and performed classic song after song on. Singer Randy Owen spotted his favourite early on: a Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar that was passed down to him from his father.
There’s even some stuff that the band forgot they had: “Some of the stuff, it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” says Gentry , “and it would be the same thing with Randy and Jeff, because some of the stuff we had has never been on display before.”
“It’s very unbelievable to come in here and walk down memory lane…This has got to be a dream come true for some guys from Alabama who just wanted to go to Myrtle Beach and play some music for a little bit. To wind up here among our heroes, people that inspired us … is really the greatest honor we could ever achieve.”
The Alabama exhibition is titled “Alabama: Song Of The South” and will be open to the public until June 12th 2017