Back in June, Alabama’s Teddy Gentry picked up fans waiting to get into the group’s annual fan-appreciation concert in Fort Payne, Ala., to play them some new music.
“I pulled up in my car and would get three or four of them at a time and play them one of the new songs,” says the bassist, 63. “Some of them would get out with tears running down their faces. Then I’d get three or four more. I did that for two hours.”
The songs Gentry played that day came from Southern Drawl, due Sept. 18 from BMG Chrysalis North America. It will be the band’s first album of new songs in 14 years.
Southern Drawl also is the first step in a renovation of the Alabama brand, a long-term project that includes major upgrades to the Alabama Fan Club and Museum in Fort Payne and plans for a documentary and book about the band.
After returning to the road in 2013, Alabama continues to play 25 to 30 shows each year. “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.
“It’s amazing that three people who see the world through very different eyes could come to the decision to put together and get it done and do a new CD.”