Alabama founding member talks tour, new album for 2012

Jeff Cook

Jeff Cook

Alabama, the most successful band in country music history, ended its Farewell Tour in Bismarck, N.D., on Oct. 16, 2004. But the group famous for such smashes as "Mountain Music," "Tennessee River" and "Love in the First Degree" could be returning to the road in 2012.

"We're talking about doing maybe 20 shows next year," Alabama co-founder, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cook said by phone recently. "I never felt it was right that a band called Alabama should end their career in Bismarck, North Dakota. It should have ended in Birmingham or Huntsville."

There are also talks of a new Alabama album.

"I feel sure that if we do dates we'll have a recording to go with it," Cook said.

On June 14, the Country Music Hall of Famers headline BAMA RISING: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery at the 17,000-seat Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham. In addition to Alabama, the 16 confirmed acts include Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Montgomery Gentry, Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler, Martina McBride and Darius Rucker.

"We started talking about the tour of 20 shows and the promoter said, 'Let's see what you're made of,'" Cook said. "We spearheaded this fund-raising event and it sold-out in 15 minutes."

In March, Paisley released the single "Old Alabama." The bridge of the song is the chorus from Alabama's 1982 hit "Mountain Music." Rather than sample the original, Paisley had Alabama members Randy Owen, Cook and Teddy Gentry join him in the studio. They're also featured in the official video.

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