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Cherry Pop

Title - ‘Alabama & Friends At The Ryman’
Artist - Alabama & Friends

When Alabama and their musical friends came together on stage at the historic Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, it was always a show that was going to go down in history. At The Ryman showcases the beloved country band as they bring forth a once-in-a-lifetime concert event. And who are the friends that we speak of, I hear you ask? Well, how about names such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Trisha Yearwood, Florida Georgia Line, Jamey Johnson and The Eli Young Band!

Originally formed in 1969, and founded by Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, Alabama have been blending their All-American country / southern rock with elements of gospel and pop music styling for years now. And to great success, as we all know by now.

And yes, you might well be a little confused as to how this concert ever came about in the first place, as back in 2003 the band actually did their farewell tour! But, if your were not aware, Alabama reformed back in 2011 to benefit homes / businesses affected by tornados in their home state. So, the gracious boys started touring in support of that and, wouldn’t you know it timing wise, also in support of their 40th anniversary as a band, in general.

Alabama & Friends At The Ryman is just a timeless delight to listen to. To absorb. It doesn’t really matter what the weather is like outside, when you put this album on - and I was lucky enough to acquire the double vinyl LP, so the crisp, playful vinyl vibes are there also - the trio known as Alabama (Cook - lead guitar, fiddle, vocals; Gentry - bass guitar, background vocals; and Owen - lead vocalist, rhythm guitar) just musically free flow out and over / through you.

The guys and their friends are mood changers here, there’s no other way to describe it. Their collaborations with that star-sprinkled line-up previously-mentioned are, one and all, perfection personified. With a lengthy set list that includes timeless hits such as, ‘Tennessee River’ (with Jason Aldean), ‘Love In The First Degree’ (with Luke Bryan), ‘Dixieland Delight,’ ‘If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band),’ ‘Song Of The South,’ ‘I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)’ (with Florida Georgia Line), and, of course both, ‘My Home’s In Alabama’ (with Jamey Johnson) and ‘Forever‘s As Far As I‘ll Go‘ (with Trisha Yearwood), amongst others.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk