Teddy Gentry is one of the founding members of Alabama. He will be performing as one of the four artists at the Heart Behind the Music Showcase in Bremen, Georgia on July 17th. Alabama is perhaps the most successful country band of all time, with nearly 30 number one hits, and 75 million albums and singles sold. News & Views Publisher Tim Collins interviewed Teddy on June 9th, 2014.
Tim: Thanks for taking the time to interview with me. First of all, congratulations for the amazing and long-lasting success of Alabama! On July 17th, you are coming to Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen, Georgia to perform in The Heart Behind the Music Showcase. Have you done some other shows like that before?
Teddy: Oh yeah, we’ve done them for years. It’s really a “story behind the song”, that kind of a deal, so you’ve got people who talk about what’s behind the song. It’s kind of like sitting on your front porch and having a guitar. To me they are very entertaining and very insightful into the art of songwriting. You get what the inspiration was for the song. A lot of times you have no idea until you hear the writer tell what it was about.
Tim: When you do an event like that, do you know ahead of times what songs you are going to play, or do you kind of switch it up as you go?
Teddy: Yeah, I switch it up. It depends on how things go. If all of the rest of the songwriters do slow songs, I’ll do something up-tempo, and if they do up-tempo I will do something slow. Just have to balance it out and pull them out of the hat as you go.
Tim: The other three artists that will be with you on July 17th will be Deana Carter, Billy Dean and Bryan White. Have you done shows like this with all three of them before?
Teddy: Deana Carter is the only one I haven’t worked with before.
Tim: I know you performed at the Harold Shedd Tribute Concert at Mill Town Music Hall last year. What do you think about Mill Town as a venue?
Teddy: Oh yes, it’s a great little venue!
Tim: I have a few questions about Alabama as well. What was it like when Alabama first started out?
Teddy: I guess it was just like any other band – you’re just trying to scratch out a living and play some songs.
Tim: If you had to pick a favorite memory of your career what would it be?
Teddy: It would probably be being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame – that would have to be right up there.
Tim: Yeah – I would think so. What are some of your personal favorite Alabama songs?
Teddy: Well, you have different songs for different occasions. You don’t have one favorite song. I love all music, and obviously we love what we perform. I can’t pick out any one and say, that’s my favorite.
Tim: Are you guys working on any new material?
Teddy: Yes, we have a new DVD coming out in the fall, and we’ve also got a gospel album that will be out in about 6 weeks. And we’ve got a new country album we’re working on to turn in in September.
Tim: You guys were on the TV show “The Voice” the other week. What was that like as an experience?
Teddy: It’s TV, you know. TV is more about the video than it is about the sound. But it’s a great opportunity for us to go out and for people to see that we are still living and can still play.
Tim: Is there one song of yours that is the hardest one to perform live?
Teddy: No, I wouldn’t say it’s hard, you know, if something’s hard you rehearse and practice it until it’s easy (laughs)
Tim: You guys have so many hits. How do you decide when you do a show, which ones you will play?
Teddy: Well we change it up from time to time to kind of keep it fresh for the band so that we don’t do the same show two nights in a row. We interchange some songs. When you have had the number of hits that we have had, you have to leave out some of the songs. But we just try not to do the same show twice in a row.
Tim: I had someone email in a question, and it was, “Do you think the band Alabama will ever play at Mill Town Music Hall?”
Teddy: We do all sizes of venues. It just depends on the circumstances. Sometimes we do charity events. But you never know. We wouldn’t say that we wouldn’t play there.
Tim: Thanks so much. I know you have been super-busy and I really do appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.
Teddy: Oh, you’re welcome sir. Thank you.