Alabama coming to Minot

Headlining this year’s Hostfest lineup will be legendary country band Alabama, which plays the evenings of Oct. 4 and 5 at the Great Hall of the Vikings, in the North Dakota State Fairgrounds’ All Seasons Arena. The two-night appearance will be at the tail end of the band’s year-long “Back to the Bowery Tour,” celebrating its first professional set together 40 years ago at The Bowery in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Mirthful, with talk intermittently shifting to include geography, insomnia cures and how best to prepare okra, Alabama members Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry took a bit of time Wednesday to talk to The Minot Daily News about their band’s upcoming visit.

The Bowery tour has focused on the band playing smaller, more intimate rooms. For Alabama the experience continues to be as it began, centered on the music. “You have a good time and the audience has a good time, and that’s about it,” Owen said.

Not long after their appearances in Minot, on Oct. 13 he will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Will Jennings, Layng Martine Jr. and Jeffrey Steele.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a night I’m never gonna forget,” Owen said. After a slight pause, he corrected himself with a chuckle, “I may forget it for a while because of the alcohol involved.”

In addition to the tour, the band recently put out the “Alabama & Friends” tribute album, with the likes of Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line, Jamey Johnson, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts and Trisha Yearwood covering the band’s most popular music. Cook, Owen and Gentry add vocals to nearly every track, in addition to two new songs by the band, “That’s How I was Raised” and “All American,” their first in over a decade.

They didn’t write the two songs themselves, but rather “Alabamacized” them. The songs’ sentiments ring true for the band, however, Owen explaining, “We’re proud to be living in these United States.” Noting the Sept. 11 anniversary, he went on to say, “We’ve never forgotten the people who’ve given so much, and gained so much, and still give so much today.”

While collecting a trove of awards and honors for its musical achievements, Alabama has also been recognized for its participation in USO-Metro events as well as its frequent tributes to American military personnel. Active-duty personnel can purchase tickets to the upcoming concert at a discounted rate of $26, which also applies to their spouses.

Otherwise, tickets to see Alabama run $62 for Hall seating, or $82 for up-close and cushioned VIP seating. All concert ticketholders will also get to enjoy free admission to the festival for the day, from 7:30 a.m. to midnight.