My Alabama Story
I promised on the show yesterday that I would put my Alabama story here. It’s really too long to air, but it’s one of my favorites stories of my professional life.
When I was a teenager, a group from my High School did a fundraiser in Houston at the “First Longhorn Roundup” at The Astroarena. (It might have been the only Longhorn Roundup…) Anyway, we were selling programs for the event. Alabama, whose album hadn’t been out long, was the headliner of the event.
So I’m in the lobby working with another girl, and this golf cart passes us by with guys on the back headed over to “The Pepsi Challenge” Booth. I looked at my friend and said, “THAT’S ALABAMA!” She was sure I was wrong and dared me to go over to them, like it would have taken that. So I go over and tap a fella on the shoulder, and Randy Owen from Alabama turns around. (I knew. I had the album, after all.)
There, my teenage self was face to face with Randy Owen. He said, “Can I help you?”
I replied, “Would you like a program?” (Yep, of all the words in the English language, those are the words I decided to string together.)
He said, “Are they free?”
By this time, all of Alabama was looking at me. I shook my head, and he said, “No, thank you,” very politely and returned to his Pepsi Challenge. I’ll skip all the self-loathing that happened on what I decided to say. It happened.
Fast forward to years later. I’m working in radio, as a music director at a Country Radio Station. I got to meet several country music stars. Go on the bus, go backstage, go to dinner with all kinds of entertainers, except Alabama. Once when I was in Dallas, my passes were not available, they were for every other group I was supposed to meet, just not Alabama. Once I almost went back stage, and the band had cancelled their backstage time because it was right after Randy returned after he had his heart attack. It was strange. Seemed like everyone but Alabama.
Then, I went to Memphis to get ready for the St. Jude’s Radiothon. There was a room set up for radio people to get liners. (Hey this is _____ and you are listening to ____ on Gator 99.5, that kind of stuff) It was the first time I met Keith Urban; he had just come out, and was so very nice, then it came time for me to be in the Randy Owen line. It was long. The whole time I’m waiting, I’m thinking about that old story, and decided that I shouldn’t bring it up to him. It might sound rude.
Then it’s my turn, and it came like an out of body experience. There I am standing in front of Randy Owen, and before I knew it, half that story was out of my mouth. (You can just call me Grace.) I started thinking, Oh no, how am I going to end this story?
When I got to the part about the program, he said, “Did I get the program?”
And I replied, “Oh no, but that wasn’t the point of the story. I just wanted you to know that what I really meant to say was that I really enjoyed your music.”
Randy Owen, Superstar of Country said to me, “Well, I’m so glad we’ve had a chance to clear this up, because what I really meant to say was of course I want a program darlin’.”
I gushed about how amazing he was, and how great it was that I would have this story forever, and I do. And now I’ve shared it with you. That’s my Alabama Story.
Alabama is going to be playing tonight at the Coushatta Casino Resort at the Pavillion. Door opens at 7:30pm, and the concert starts at 9pm. If you have a chance, they still sound amazing, and they are still some of the nicest men (that I finally did get to meet) in Country Music.
See you there!