FORT PAYNE, Ala. - The country music group Alabama hosted June Jam in Fort Payne from 1982 to 1997. The boys in the band raised millions of dollars for charity. Even though the music at the foot of Lookout Mountain stopped more than 20 years ago, the guys are still giving back.
When an EF-3 tornado rolled across the Jacksonville State University campus in March of this year, founding band member Randy Owen could only think of one thing. “Well, I hope nobody's killed, honestly. That was the big thing,” Randy told us sitting inside the new museum at the Fan Club in his hometown.
The storm hit close to home for him. “I've got lots and lots of friends in that part of the world,” he told us. That includes his wife’s mom and dad and other relatives. He was worried saying, “Besides family, it was obviously, hopefully, nobody at the university gets hurt.” His biggest concern, “It was the people” he told us. “That's the first thing that went through my mind.”
But the thinking didn’t stop there. “We've been given this really great opportunity to help people. So why not do that while you're alive in this world,” he said. The boys have been doing that their entire career.
Randy Owen is a JSU graduate. So is Jeff Cook’s wife, Lisa. Randy also serves on the JSU Board of Trustees. When he went to Jacksonville and saw the damage done to his beloved school, it broke his heart. “Once I talked to Teddy and he said 'Hey, we'd love to do something' and then I got in touch with Jeff. I knew that we wanted to do something similar to what we did with Bama Rising in Birmingham,” he recalls.
Let’s face it, you can’t keep a good man down or the gamecock family. Alabama sings: "You can't keep a good man down. Alabama’s headlining a tornado relief concert at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium Wednesday, September 26. “I really thought it was important, for as far as the healing process, to do it on campus with all the kids and the alumni from all over, that they could be part of it and help,” Randy said.
They’re calling on some other Alabama artists like Jamey Johnson, Shenandoah and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit to help. Another longtime friend, Charlie Daniels is bringing the CDB to Jacksonville. “I don't think Charlie had a choice,” Randy said with a laugh. “He's actually a good friend, more than just a musical acquaintance and we've done a lot of shows together. It's a great combination.”
It’s also your only chance to catch Alabama in concert in our state this year. “I want to do something spectacular for the university and once again, to bring the spirit of everybody up as much as we could because that's what we do, we play music and try to bring hope and happiness and a look toward the future for everybody for Jacksonville State because we need it,” Randy added.
It will be a night to remember. “If that spirit can be lifted up any more, we hope to do it in September,” Randy told us. This tornado relief concert is important to him. “It's important to the university,” he said. “It's important to the spirit of our school.”
The concert starts at 6 p.m. and will be held rain or shine. For ticket information, click on this link to The Alabama Band. Life goes on. “Life goes on,” he said. Then with a smile, he added, “And go Gamecocks.”