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Alabama’s Fan Appreciation Week returns with new acoustic concert, guest stars logo 6/12/2022 Mary Colurso,

Alabama’s annual Fan Appreciation extravaganza went on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s back this week with a new event (and a few guest stars) on the agenda.

A songwriters showcase — featuring Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry of Alabama, plus Jamey Johnson, Gordon Mote, Ronnie Rogers and Frank J. Myers — is set for June 17 at Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville.

The acoustic concert — which offers a chance to see the musicians perform in the round, in an intimate setting — is one of four events planned for Thursday-Sunday, June 16-19, in Rainsville and Fort Payne.

“We have always been thankful for our fans from day one, and they have stood by us for over 50 years,” Owen said via a press release. “It’s exciting to see them up close and personal at our annual Fan Appreciation Week. Really looking forward to seeing everyone this year, especially since we have not been able to hold the event for the past couple of years.”

Here’s the full schedule, listed on Alabama’s website:

  • Teddy Gentry’s “Singing with the Stars” Talent Contest, June 16 at 7 p.m., NACC Theatre, Tom Bevill Lyceum, Northeast Alabama Community College, 138 Alabama 35, Rainsville. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of show, $5 for children younger than age 12. Call 256-997-9700 for tickets and info. Proceeds benefit the Child Advocacy Center.
  • Fans Songwriters Showcase, June 17 at 7 p.m., NACC Theatre, Tom Bevill Lyceum, Northeast Alabama Community College, 138 Alabama 35, Rainsville. Tickets are $60, plus a $4 service charge, available online or by phone at 256-845-1646. Proceeds benefit the June Jam Foundation, a nonprofit that gives money to other nonprofit organizations and service groups.
  • Fan Appreciation Concert, June 18, at 7 p.m., Alabama Fan Club & Museum, 101 Glenn Blvd. Southwest, Fort Payne. Tickets are $75, $125 VIP, available to members’ of Alabama’s fan club. Call Call 256-845-1646 for tickets and info. Proceeds benefit the museum and its operation.
  • Randy Owen’s Fandemonium on the Farm, June 19, gates open at 10 a.m., 553 Randy Owen Drive, Northeast Fort Payne. Lunch served at 11 a.m., while supplies last. Donation of $20 suggested at the gate, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Another new element for fans: Gentry’s “Singing with the Stars” contest features a silent auction with a special prize.

“The highest bidders will be able to watch the (hummingbirds migrate from my front porch on Friday and Saturday morning) while I fix them a good ol’ Southern breakfast on top of Lookout Mountain at my farm,” Gentry said via a press release.

Alabama, an iconic country band from Fort Payne, has been performing on an extended 50th anniversary tour and is set to headline on Aug. 5 at Rock the South in Cullman.

The founders of Alabama — singer Owen, bassist Gentry and guitarist/fiddler Jeff Cook — were in the midst of their 50th anniversary tour in 2019 when their agenda was cut short in August because Owen was suffering from cluster migraines and vertigo. Dates on the tour, including one in Birmingham, were rescheduled for 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the group to postpone its shows again.

Cook, who has Parkinson’s disease, had planned to perform on the tour as much as he was physically able, a publicist said in 2019. The beloved musician 72, revealed his diagnosis in 2017.

Alabama was formed in 1969 in Fort Payne as Wildcountry. The band changed its name to Alabama in 1977 and became one of the most successful groups in country music, peaking in the 1980s with multiplatinum albums and a slew of radio hits that included “Tennessee River,” “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight,” “The Closer You Get,” “Song of the South,” “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” and many more.

The band continued to record and perform regularly until the early 2000s, playing to a devoted fan base. Alabama traveled on a high-profile farewell tour in 2003-2004, but returned to the stage several times over the years. One of the most notable shows was the 2011 Bama Rising benefit concert at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham. Alabama headlined the star-studded event, raising about $2.2 million for tornado relief in its home state.

Alabama reunited for a “Back to the Bowery” tour in 2013 and released a new album, “Southern Drawl,” two years later.

The band is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Alabama was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville in October 2019. The band also received the hall’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

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