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Alabama’s Randy Owen receives special honor

When I started in country music one of the acts which was taking the
industry by storm was Alabama. Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry
left the cotton farms of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend the summer
playing music in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina bar called The
Bowery. It’s a classic American tale of rags to riches. From humble
beginnings picking cotton in the fields, to international stars that
went on to sell 80 million albums, while changing the face and sound
of country music.

Culverhouse College of Business Dean Kay M. Palan formally inducts Randy Owen into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame / Photo credit: JAMM Entertainment

Recently Alabama frontman Randy Owen was formally inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Owen’s induction comes as result of his business dealings in music, agriculture and humanitarianism.

“It’s a great honor to be one of this year’s inductees into the
Alabama Business Hall of Fame,” says Owen. “It’s very special that my
entire family got to share the night together. God bless all the
fellow inductees, their families and our home state!”

Founded in 1973 by the Board of Visitors of the Culverhouse College
of Commerce at The University of Alabama, the Alabama Business Hall
of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the names and outstanding
accomplishments of business personalities who have brought lasting
fame to the state of Alabama.

Owen has been the lead vocalist of ALABAMA, the most successful and
awarded band in country music history, for nearly 50 years. When he’s
not writing songs or performing on the road, Owen stays busy in Fort
Payne, Alabama, operating his 3,000-acre ranch, Tennessee River
Music, Inc., where he tends to 500 head of Hereford and Angus cattle.

Much of Owen’s time is spent helping others through his humanitarian
efforts, such as launching Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, an annual
radiothon fundraising event that has garnered more than $800 million
for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He received the Ellis
Island Award for his charity work with St. Jude.

Owen and ALABAMA have played a key role in several disaster relief
initiatives, including organizing and playing concerts to support
rebuilding efforts from tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa in 2011 and
Jacksonville State University (his alma mater) in March of this year.

Actor/Entertainer/Author Randall Franks honored at 42nd Annual A.S.E. Awards

Entertainer Randall Franks was among the recent honorees at the 42nd annual Atlanta Society of Entertainers Awards receiving the Bluegrass Band of the Year Award with his Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band.

Franks, who is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from the TV series “In the Heat of the Night,” starred in three TV series and 15 films. Musically, he is recognized as an International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend and Independent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.

“Performing among some of the best performers in our state in many genres is a great honor,” Franks said. “It is such a blessing to do it with a talented group of performers in their own right. I know each of us are thankful for the recognition that what we do is touching others.”

A.S.E. executive co-director Phyllis Cole (left) presents Bluegrass Band of the Year to Randall Franks (fourth from left) and the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band – from left, Pete Hatfield, Jerry Burke, Helen Burke, J. Max McKee, and Rick Smith. (Photo: JLynne Photography)

A.S.E. executive co-director Phyllis Cole (left) presents Bluegrass Band of the Year to Randall Franks (fourth from left) and the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band – from left, Pete Hatfield, Jerry Burke, Helen Burke, J. Max McKee, and Rick Smith. (Photo: JLynne Photography)

Appearing as part of the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band were Pete Hatfield and Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame members – Jerry and Helen Burke, Rick Smith, Dean Marsh and J. Max McKee.

Organized for a special PBS TV appearance in 2009, the band still receives requests for appearances, Franks said.

 

See Randall Franks and the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band on YouTube with “The Old Black Fiddle”

The group which is made up of members of several other acts will be included on Randall’s upcoming “30 Years on Radio and TV Volume II” CD from the Share America Foundation, Inc. expected out in November. The CD will raise funds for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship encouraging youth in Appalachian music.

Franks became a country music personality as a youth beginning appearances at major country, folk, bluegrass and gospel events such as Country Music Association Fan Fair, National Folk Festival, National Quartet Convention, National Black Arts Festival and for the Grand Ole Opry. With 24 career albums in four genres, his latest is “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” He has performed to over 145 million fans around the world.  He is a syndicated newspaper columnist featured across the Southern and Midwestern U.S. and an author with eight books including his “Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand” releasing this week.

Some among the genres and entertainers performing and receiving honors at the event were Jazz – Joey Stuckey; Western Swing – The Junction Band; Blues – The Danny Miller Band and The Mike Watson Band; Classic Country – Highridge; Comedy Bluegrass – The McKee Family Band; Traditional Country – Donna Robinson and Friends with special guest Katie Deal; Bluegrass Gospel – Hickory Wind Bluegrass; Contemporary Country – David Gardner; and Southern Rock – Southern Breeze ATL.

Country musician Jerry Braswell, who performed with numerous stars from Porter Wagoner to Ernest Tubb, received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Horizon Award winner was banjo stylist Landon Fitzpatrick.

Some other performers included Lorraine Guth Parker, Danny Gardner; Mitzie Gardner; Greta Hopkins; and Megan Burke.