It's a big night at the Grand Ole Opry, as iconic group Alabama will play a full 30-minute segment Tuesday. The honor for the Country Music Hall of Famers comes two weeks before they release a new album.
Thirty No. 1 recordings and 70 million records later, they want more.
The country renegades rolled into Nashville from the Appalachian foothills in northwest Alabama around 1980 wearing T-shirts and tennis shoes. They were different from the traditional country style of the day, and their success was enormous.
They were a lot country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, and, decades later, Alabama's Teddy Gentry says he keeps grounded with a voice of his grandfather.
"My grandpa said, 'If you don't put yourself too high on the pedestal, you won't have to far to fall when it's all over. So, every night after a show, when I get to the bottom of the steps, I think about that," Gentry said.
Older, richer and wiser, Alabama are now different people but with the same serious work ethic that helped make them legends.
"We consider ourselves very lucky and very blessed to have the opportunity we've had, and we still don't take it lightly. We appreciate every fan, and every song we record, we take it seriously," Gentry said.
They were game changers in Music City, just like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings or Loretta Lynn before them. One of the most honored bands in history of any kind of music, they say they are still a little bit amazed by the whole experience.
"I'm 63 years old. I've known Teddy all my life. We've been playing music since 1969, and y'all are still interested in what we have to say. I mean, what a life," said Alabama's Randy Owen.
On Aug. 27, the group will release Alabama and Friends, featuring 11 of country's biggest stars performing Alabama's hits.
They will play two shows at the Ryman Auditorium on Nov. 3 and 4, with just a few seats remaining for the second show.
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