If I were to ask you to identify this group of menalabmaI would assume most of you would not know who it is. Don’t worry I did not either until entering the Rhetoric of Country Music class. However, although you do not recognize them I guarantee you have heard their songs.  This group of men came together to form one of the most successful country bands of all time, Alabama.  They originated out of, yes you guessed it, Alabama. The band began with three cousins, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook. They later added their drummer Mark Herndon who was not blood related, just a talented musician. They began their success in the 1980’s with over 27 number 1 hits and seven multiplatinum awards. When you think about that in today’s music industry, that is A LOT of success. Their most popular songs consist of “Song of the South,” “Mountain Music,” “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas,” and “Tennessee River”. Now I am almost positive you know who I am talking about now. If you are any type of country music fan, or just a fan of music in general, I am fairly certain you have heard a few, if not all of those songs.

This band is a perfect example of a simple group of men coming together, playing instruments, and singing.  This is something I think is missing in todays country. Of course it exists in Texas Country, but the more popular/modern country does not have this type of music anywhere. I realize that society has changed since then of course, but it just goes to show that you do not need to add special affects to a singers voice or any other enhancements to be successful. This band is considered of the most successful country bands of all time and if you listen to their songs compared to todays country, you can see how simple and pure it is.  Their songs were relied more on the lyrics rather than the beat of rhythm of the song. I think that is something that modern country has turned away from. It is more about appealing to the listeners ear rather then the audience connecting to the lyrics.

Alabama was considered a country/rock group during their time. To put that into perspective, in today’s society, Florida Georgia Line is what the music industry considers country/rock now. I know I am not alone in saying these two are in no comparison. Not taking anything away from Florida Georgia Line of course, but this is just an example of how much country music has changed in society. Our expectations as an audience is not near the same as it was 30 years ago and to me, I wish it were not that way.



Filed under New Traditionalism, Reflection

4 Responses to Alabama

  1. Victoria Horvath

    Zane, I really enjoyed reading your post about Alabama. Growing up listening to country music, I was very familiar with their songs, but you’re right – I wouldn’t have known who they were if you had just shown me a picture. I feel like they really impacted people and their mindsets on country music, but also just gave their listeners a fun song to sing along with. Additionally, I think it is interesting that Brad Paisley did a tribute song (“Old Alabama”) to them which even included a cameo appearance from the band! It was definitely a way for them to stay relevant even in these modern country times.

  2. Carilu

    Zane, I agree with you on not being familiarized with country groups just by looking at a picture. If it wasn’t for this class, I would probably had never taken the opportunity to look into older country music. I did not grow up listening to country music so I am more familiarized with today’s country. Nonetheless, one of the things I really enjoyed about this class is that it allows us to become more aware of other country artists. I really enjoyed your post because it allowed me to learn about Alabama!

  3. Zane: I have to admit it’s been great reading comments this semester about how people have enjoyed learning about “older bands.” It’s funny that when Alabama debuted listeners weren’t ready to accept them as country. The same happened to John Denver, and now Alabama and John Denver are about as “country” as anybody can be. I think being “country” is sometimes something that has to be earned over time. Maybe your peers say your band isn’t country enough, but if the musicians following you say you are, well, then you are. I am surprised how much Alabama I know from my childhood.

  4. Brittany Fietsam

    Zane, I Love Alabama and am so happy you wrote a post about them! You definitely shared probably their four best songs. Growing up, my brother and I also really enjoyed “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” and “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler).” I also thought you made a good comparison when you said they are like the Florida Georgia Line of their time. However, I tend to like my country music a little less like Florida Georgia Line. I also agree that they have a nice, simple feel to their music and that a lot of the newer country music is missing that. Overall I really enjoyed your post!

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