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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Alabama Readies for June Jam XVIII (Exclusive)

Alabama will anchor their June Jam concert festival for the 18th time this weekend in the band’s native Fort Payne, Alabama. At 74 years old, the band’s singer Randy Owen readily admits he’s ready to slow down in most areas of his life – but he hopes June Jam is a tradition his hometown keeps going long after he’s gone.

“It’s something that me and Teddy did because we thought we could help our community and would be good for country music,” Owen told PEOPLE. “It’s a true story — do something for the community, and we’re able to help several causes that make life all worthwhile and help people.”

Alabama’s June Jam XVIII is Saturday, June 1, at the VFW Fairgrounds in Fort Payne, Alabama. The group reestablished its popular country music festival for the first time in 26 years in 2023. Fans packed the festival grounds, and merchandise sold out in minutes. This year’s event promises to be just as popular. The lineup includes Old Dominion, Shenandoah, Lee Greenwood, Montgomery Gentry Featuring Eddie Montgomery, Mark Wills, Exile, John Berry, Taylor Hicks, The Malpass Brothers, The Castellows, Jeff Bates, Worth the Wait and more. 

As in past years, June Jam will benefit those in need and disaster relief in and around Alabama.

“Our wishes are the town keeps doing June Jam after Teddy and I have passed on to the sunny side,” the singer said.

Owen described Fort Payne as a “neat place to live and go to school” and likened it to the set of a Hallmark movie.

“I just pulled out of Fort Payne a few minutes ago, and the construction workers are working on the construction site,” he said. “They all waved at me when I went by.”

If Fort Payne is the town that made Alabama, Alabama is the band that made Old Dominion.

Old Dominion members know they wouldn’t have a career without Alabama. And that’s just one of the reasons country music’s most popular contemporary band will trek south on Saturday to play June Jam. 

Alabama’s former management company guides Old Dominion, who has had hit songs including “Hotel Key,” “One Man Band” and “Break Up with Him.”

“I’m sure that things that we don’t even realize happened to us were modeled after them by the people who helped them get to where they are,” said Old Dominion’s Geoff Sprung.

Old Dominion.

Mason Allen

“They paved the way,” added Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen. “They changed the perception of what it means to be a band in country music. There wasn’t a successful band in country music so all of a sudden people recognized it was possible.”

Old Dominion’s singer Matthew Ramsey said the group tries to follow Alabama’s creative trailblazing as closely as possible.

“They created their own lane and the landscape they were working in,” Ramsey said. “They didn’t try to chase what anyone else was doing. They just did what they did, and no one could touch it. That’s what we try and do: ignore the temptation to chase after what we think the radio wants or what people want and just stay true to ourselves. We managed to create our own thing, too.”

Owen is excited about the band’s hometown show on Saturday. He’s looking forward to playing Alabama hits ‘Mountain Music,’ ‘Tennessee River,’ ‘Feels So Right’ and more. He said it’s just a matter of “getting on stage and doing it.”

“We can’t wait to see the fans who made it all possible,” he said. 

Country Music Hall of Fame group Alabama has been a country music staple for more than five decades and an icon in the genre for nearly as long. The group included Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Owen until Cook died after a decade-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease in 2022. Now, Gentry and Owen travel the country, keeping the band’s rich legacy alive.

The band, who are also cousins, charted 43 No. 1 songs, including “Mountain Music,” “Roll On,” “Dixieland Delight” and “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle In The Band)” and sold more than 80 million albums – enough to make them the most successful band in country music history. Owen and Gentry opted to keep playing shows — with Cook’s blessing — after his death.

In addition to playing June Jam, Alabama will also take the stage in various states this summer during their ALABAMA 2024 ROLL ON II North America Tour. Stops include shows in South Carolina, Georgia, North Dakota, Canada and more.

“Considering all the stuff that’s going on in the world with our friends and everything, I’m just proud to be alive and proud to be able to still play some music,” Owen said. 

ALABAMA 2024 ROLL ON II North America Tour Dates:

June 1 – June Jam XVIII  – Fort Payne, Al

June 13 – Live Oak Bank Pavilion At Riverfront Park – Wilmington, Nc

June 15 – Southeastern Bbq Showdown At Segra Park – Columbia, Sc

June 22 – Long Leaf Country Music Festival  – Gay, Ga

June 27 – Prairie Knights Casino and Resort – Fort Yates, Nd

June 29 – Dauphin’s Countryfest – Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada

July 19 – Bridgestone Arena  – Nashville, Tn

Jul 25 – Ohio State Fair  – Columbus, Oh

July 27 – The Amp At Log Still – Gethsemane, Ky

Aug 8 – Freeman Arts Pavilion – Selbyville, De

Aug 10 – Atlantic Union Bank After Hours at Servpro Pavilion – Doswell, Va

Aug 17 – Missouri State Fair – Sedalia, Mo

Aug 30 – Kickoff Jam – Panama City Beach, Fl

Sept 11 – The Summit At Pechanga Resort Casino – Temecula, Ca

Sept 13 – Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys – Stateline, Nv

Sept 18 – Washington State Fair – Puyallup, Wa

Nov 8 – St. Augustine Amphitheatre – St. Augustine, Fl

Nov 9 – St. Augustine Amphitheatre – St. Augustine, Fl

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