Having survived decades without any major ALABAMA tribute albums whatsoever, we can now anticipate the arrival of two very different tributes within the span of a month.
The first is the mainstream ALABAMA & Friends, out August 27 on Show Dog-Universal. If there are no real shockers here – the inclusion of Trisha Yearwood excepted, the track list has an air of predictability about it – there aren’t any obvious mismatches of song and singer, either. There’s no reason to suspect that this tribute won’t be pretty good.
Here’s some of the press release:
Nashville, Tenn. July 22, 2013 — One of country music’s most successful and influential groups of all time, ALABAMA, will release their highly anticipated new album, ALABAMA & Friends, on Tuesday, August 27 through Show Dog-Universal Music. The project is a tribute album, honoring the legendary group that helped change the face of country music.
ALABAMA & Friends will feature some of country music’s hottest stars — all delivering their own unique versions of the multi-platinum-selling band’s biggest hits, including Jason Aldean (“Tennessee River”), Luke Bryan (“Love in the First Degree”), Kenny Chesney (“Lady Down on Love”), Eli Young Band (“The Closer You Get”), Florida Georgia Line (“I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)”), Jamey Johnson (“My Home’s in Alabama”), Toby Keith (“She and I”), Rascal Flatts (“Old Flame”) and Trisha Yearwood (“Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go”).
The 11-song collection will also feature the band’s first new tracks in over 10 years – “All American” (written by Trey Bruce) and “That’s How I Was Raised” (written by Charley Stefl, Tony Ramey, Skip Sasser and Trent Tomlinson), which has the group teaming again with legendary producer Harold Shedd who worked closely with the group in their early years.
ALABAMA & Friends track list
1. “Tennessee River” – Jason Aldean
2. “Love In The First Degree” – Luke Bryan
3. “Old Flame” – Rascal Flatts
4. “Lady Down on Love” – Kenny Chesney
5. “The Closer You Get” – Eli Young Band
6. “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” – Trisha Yearwood
7. “She & I” – Toby Keith
8. “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” – Florida Georgia Line
9. “That ‘s How I Was Raised” – ALABAMA
10. “All American” – ALABAMA
11. “My Home’s in Alabama” – Jamey Johnson
Interesting thing to note: Even though they save the first new ALABAMA (all caps) recordings in more than 10 years for almost the end, the whole tribute actually closes with Jamey Johnson. Confirming, again, that Jamey Johnson is a superhero.
The other tribute is High Cotton: A Tribute to Alabama, out three weeks later (September 17) on Lightning Rod Records. More of an independent effort, this one looks to feature an adventurous Who’s Who of modern roots music. Even as someone familiar with the songs and artists, I genuinely can’t imagine what most of these pairings will sound like. All the chances taken may not pay off, but they all have me intrigued.
Here’s a bit of the press release:
(New York, NY – July 24, 2013) — For the 40th anniversary of Country Music supergroup Alabama, Lightning Rod Records assembled a wide variety of artists to record covers of their hits and lesser-known album cuts. High Cotton: A Tribute To Alabama features artists ranging from legendary gospel blues group Blind Boys of Alabama to gritty Memphis rockers Lucero to country soul shouter JD McPherson who put their unique spin on the Alabama repertoire.
The winding track listing of Alabama’s catalog take listeners through Texas heroes like Wade Bowen and Jason Boland and the Stragglers to Generation Y performers like Jessica Lea Mayfield and her ethereal rendition of “I’m In A Hurry.” Old Crow Medicine Show showcase the number one song “Dixieland Delight.”
Executive producer Logan Rogers has long been an Alabama fan and isn’t alone in his excitement to hear the finished product: “It seems too good to be true for me to get some of my favorite bands to record Alabama songs. It was clear that all these artists share my genuine love and respect for Alabama’s body of work, and this album exceeded all my expectations.” Recorded in the south between Muscle Shoals, Athens, and Nashville, this record breathes the respect and love that these performers have for supergroup Alabama.
High Cotton track list
1. “Why Lady Why” – JD McPherson
2. “Dixieland Delight” – Old Crow Medicine Show
3. “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band)” – Turnpike Troubadours
4. “Old Flame” – Jason Isbell and John Paul White
5. “High Cotton” – T. Hardy Morris
6. “I Can’t Love You Any Less” – Amanda Shires
7. “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” – Jessica Lea Mayfield
8. “Lady Down On Love” – Bob Schneider and Texas Bluegrass Massacre w/ Ray Benson
9. “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” – Shonna Tucker
10. “The Closer You Get” – Lucero
11. “Feels So Right” – Todd Snider and Elizabeth Cook
12. “Love in the First Degree” – Wade Bowen and Brandy Clark
13. “Mountain Music” – Jason Boland and The Stragglers
14. “Christmas in Dixie” – Blind Boys of Alabama
Which tribute are you most eager to hear? Any tracks on either album have you especially excited?