Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney are among the artists paying tribute to Alabama on the legendary country group’s “Alabama & Friends.”
The album, which will feature members of Alabama duetting with the acts on some of the tracks—similar to Lionel Richie’s tremendously successful “Tuskegee” set— will come out in the third quarter, says Show Dog Universal Music president Mark Wright.
Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Eli Young Band and Trisha Yearwood will also contribute tracks.
Many of the artists have already completed their recordings or are in the process of doing so. “The other day, Jason Aldean and [Alabama lead singer] Randy Owen were swapping verses,” Bright told Billboard.biz at Show Dog Universal’s third annual brunch at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.
“Alabama isn’t on every track. They’ll come and do some harmonies just to put the flavor on there, but it’s kind of hard when you have Rascal Flatts and Eli Young [Band], people who have their own band. It’s hard to put a band with a band,” Wright says.
The album will also include two new Alabama tracks, the first new songs from the now-trio since the group embarked on a farewell tour more than a decade ago. Since then, the band’s appearances have been sporadic. In 2011, Alabama reunited to play with Brad Paisley on his song “Old Alabama,” which featured the band, at the ACM Awards (and also appeared on the video). Last year, they played the multi-artist festival Stagecoach.
Just last week, the band reunited for a full tour, its first since 2004. The group’s 40th anniversary outing, dubbed the Back to the Bowery tour, kicked off April 4 with a free show at the Bowery in Myrtle Beach,S.C., the venue where Owen, his cousin Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook got their start in 1973. With more dates to be added, the tour presently goes through Nov. 8.
When asked if fans can expect a full album of new Alabama material, Wright said, “Not yet.”