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Home Reviews Music Reviews With “Southern Drawl,” Alabama reminds us who we are and why their songs resonate

With “Southern Drawl,” Alabama reminds us who we are and why their songs resonate

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It’s been nearly 10 years since Alabama disbanned Alabama_review_cover.jpgand 14 years since they put out a full album of new material. Many fans are excited to see the guys back together, making new music on their own terms. 

From the start of “Southern Drawl,” it’s clear Alabama hasn’t missed a beat musically. It’s as if these guys picked up where they left off, a little older, maybe a little wiser, but back at it, recharged and ready to rock, coax and croon, Country style. They jumped right in and took off, like they’d never been gone. 

“I gave more of my heart and soul to this one than anything I've been a part of in my life.  I approached this album as if it could be my best, my first or my last. We were so glad to be back in the studio, we didn't take a moment of it for granted,” lead singer Randy Owen stated in a BMG release.

Teddy Gentry said, in the release, said the guys “loved being in the studio again” and and are looking forward to sharing their new music with their fans.

“Country music, when we took our 'vacation', is not the same country it is today. For people who knew the original ALABAMA, it's going to be a little different to their ears,” Jeff Cook stated.

Some songs on Alabama’s latest album are slower than others, others uptempo, fun, even funny. No doubt, these guys have still got it. And, true to form, they remind us who we are and why. These songs resonate.

The title track “Southern Drawl” does just what it says. It talks about what being Southern is about, what it means to be from the South, those simple basic things at the heart of every true Southern country boy and gal. Cousins Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook served up this track up with a twang, reminding us most everything sounds better to a child of the South (and many from far and near) with a Southern drawl. 

As if the title track wasn’t enough to get you on  your feet, clapping and tapping a toe or two at the least, it also includes “Footstompin’ Music” and “Hillbilly Wins the Lotto Money.”

“Hillbilly” is a kicking, country rocker. I dare ya to try listening to this one without some toe tappin going on.

True to its name, “Footstompin’ Music” will also have fans stomping their feet in time to the rhythm of this fun catchy tune. Sometimes a person just needs to relax and cut loose. This song is great to do just that. This is a fun ditty perfect for passing the time after hours or at work — just watch out when listening the office; it’s nigh impossible for fans to keep their feet still. This is Alabama expect to be “singing, dancing, prancing, oh yeah” to this dynamic group’s “foot stompin music.”

It’s not the only song that addresses the need for time out after a hard work schedule and busy daily routines. “Back to Country” is about returning to your roots, taking time out of the city life and heading to a slower pace to give the body and mind a break, where you can feel the dirt underfoot, seek out wide open spaces and recharge. When things get to tense, it’s time to shed the concrete and head home – the country to rest mind, body and soul and just soak up nature. Those who don’t have that luxury will just have to dream themselves home somehow.

When life lets you down and the world seems out of control, Alabama reminds that “As Long As There’s Love” there’s hope. Alabama contends love can carry you through broken dreams or whatever life brings, with love, there’s hope “like a newborn child.” Love, the great hope, is the one defining thing that pulls us through those tough times. The kids are free as past generations have been but will they know “right from wrong, or have the will to carry on.” As individuals, a nation and humans, as long as there’s love, there’s hope.” 

“No Bad Days” reminds that attitude and how things go has a lot to do with our outlook.   It reminds us to appreciate others, to dust ourselves off when life knocks us down, and keep moving forward. None of us are promised tomorrow, the song reminds, so make the best of today and what is there.  It’s all about perspective.

“When the sun just ain't shining and the end’s not in sight, have faith in the shadows and you’ll find light. ... amazing the view when you’re down on your knees, may not get what you want but you’ll get what you need ...”

“No Bad Days” reminds us to keep dreaming, reaching, seeking and breathing. When you do, there’s hope. And when you focus on hope, there is “No Bad Day.”

“It’s About Time” is about finding the truth and following it, doing what’s right instead of what’s easy or fun. It’s about people coming together, acknowledging the problems, realizing we all have them and finding a way to coexist before we drift so far about we destroy everything.

“Come Find Me” is a song of longing for that special someone while on tour, spending many a day and long night on the road far from home. This one is slower, a melodic piece about being homesick and yearning for he special person to come find you, wherever you are. It features vocals vocals from Alison Krauss.

“One on One” is all about keeping romance alive, what he can to do make the night special for his love. He’s seducing her with his song, but at the same time he knows, no matter what, that intimate connection between them will be right because their bond is that strong, when they’re one-on one. 

“Wasn’t Through Lovin’ You Yet” talks about how casually they treated love when it came others, how easy it was to break hearts — until he was the one on the losing side. She’s telling him goodbye, this their last dance, last kiss. He’s screwed up and is begging for another chance, desperate to take it all back, if she’ll just let him. He just wants to love her good.

“I Wanna Be There” is about family. It’s a parents’ desire to live long enough to provide for their children, to be there for all those firsts and special moments in life. It’s a daddy’s fervent prayer “to be there” to see his little girl through life, to experience it all along with her.

I love the piano in “This Ain’t Just a Song.” This one is a dreamy voice singing a lullaby with fantastic music but is also melancholy too. The crooner is feeling his age, realizing that youth is behind him, and at some point in the future we’ll all be gone. But as long as his song survives and someone listens, sings along, a part of him will carry on.

No Alabama album is complete without an ode to the working man, “American Farmer” fits that bill. 

It’s often been said that a musician is known by his sound just as an artist is recognized by his works, the way an author writes, much in the same way a fingerprint distinguishes one individual from another.

From the first note of “American Farmer,” there’s no doubt on this one who you are listening to. The music on this one has that distinctive “Alabama” stamp fans have come to associate with the the group. It’s songs like this that put these guys on the map, and had their music climbing the charts for a few decades.

“Southern Drawl” released Sept. 18, and is available on most digital platforms as well as in stores.

 

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