Sweet! Alabama performs Saturday at Hard Rock Live

 

Memory lane

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By Howard Cohen

You can forgive Alabama for reneging on its retirement and reforming for a 40th anniversary tour that rolls into Hard Rock Live on Saturday. For lead singer Randy Owen, reuniting with the country band after its 2007 farewell tour was a life-saver. “I had cancer. Prostate. Having got a good report and everything, I think the way for me to make a difference and maybe help people and be good for myself is to go out and get my guitar and play and sing,”

Owen, 63, said from his cabin on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. His dogs, he said, lay bored at his feet. “I just got up and started talking, and the dogs are laying around and looking up at me. ‘We’ve heard all these stories. Come on, tell him something…’ ”

The Back to the Bowery Tour and Alabama & Friends tribute album (out Aug. 27) celebrate a career that ranks Alabama the most successful country group in history. Formed by cousins Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook, Alabama has had 32 No. 1 country hits, including Mountain Music, The Closer You Get and Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler) along with a 33rd, Old Alabama, a 2011 collaboration with Brad Paisley. Yet those early Bowery shows were among the most special. “We never knew not to go at it full blast. God had given me this opportunity to be with Alabama, and I’m not going to screw it up. I’ll stay focused and go as long as my body and health will let me go.”

Alabama performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood. Tickets are $79-$169. Call 954-797-5531 or visit http://www.hardrocklivehollywoodfl. com

 

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