FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) – The country music band Alabama made a big announcement recently. And it will no doubt hit a high note with their fans.
After accepting the V. I. Prewett lifetime achievement award from the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce, founding band member Randy Owen told the audience what fans have waited years to hear.
“With Lisa and with Teddy, I’m here to tell yall, on June, the third of this year, we’re going to have another June Jam,” Randy said. Those attending the event broke out in thunderous applause. In fact, it was hard to tell who was more excited, the crowd or the boys in the band.
Afterward, Randy told me “Our wishes are that the love and the labor that we’ve put in this all these years, that the town takes this, and it goes on for forever.” Alabama hosted June Jam in its Hometown of Fort Payne for 16 years from 1982 to 1997.
“You know, we’ve lost Jeff. We wanted to go on and make a statement about we’re going to continue to do this, help others, help the city, help the county, help the state, just help people in general,” Randy told me, “ And so, when me and Teddy are gone, hopefully, the city will continue with the June Jam.”
Founding member Teddy Gentry added, “We helped so many people with it and there’s so many needs still that we see every day, people that we could be helping with the money. So, we said why not. Let’s try to get back up again while we’re still healthy and can still do it.”
For Randy and Teddy, it’s tough taking the stage and playing without their cousin. “Me and Teddy are just doing what we think that Jeff would like us to do,” Randy said, “It’s been really rough to go out on tour without Jeff being with us. But you know, he wanted us to go on and do our deal, so we have, and fans have accepted it.”
And nobody would be more excited about another June Jam than Jeff Cook. “He loved the excitement and sound. He always enjoyed that, and he loved his bass tournament,” Jeff’s wife Lisa told me, “Oh, he would be thrilled to death.”
When Jeff made his battle with Parkinson’s public in 2018, 6 years after his initial diagnosis, he told the fans, he didn’t want the fun to end. “That’s exactly right Jerry,” Lisa said, “He said I don’t ever want the music to stop or the party to end.” And it won’t.
The last song Jeff recorded with Alabama was “No Bad Days” on the Southern Drawl album. “And it all just fit him,” Lisa said, “No bad days and he just, he loved to laugh. He loved for everybody to laugh and be having fun.”
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And when the music plays at the VFW Fairgrounds in Fort Payne on June 3rd, Jeff will be there in spirit. “As long as everybody is laughing and having fun, Jeff will be smiling down on the event,” Lisa added. She also tells me a celebration of Jeff’s life is also being planned for June 3rd to coincide with June Jam.
We don’t know just yet who’ll be joining Alabama in Fort Payne for the next June Jam, but as soon as we know the lineup, you’ll be the first to know. Tickets go on sale to the public, Wednesday, March 1 at 8 a.m. Click on the Alabama band website to buy them and keep up with future concert dates.