Old Alabama

Album: This Is Country Music (2011)
Charted: 38
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This is the second single from Country music singer Brad Paisley's eighth studio album, This Is Country Music. The song features the group Alabama and samples their 1982 Country #1 "Mountain Music."
  • Paisley told Buffalo, New York radio station WYRK how he got Alabama involved on this cut: "We were writing a song that mentions a few things and realized that the perfect bridge for the song is the bridge from 'Mountain Music.' And so I contacted [Alabama member] Randy Owen and asked if he wanted to write it with us, and then got those guys back together. Instead of sampling a piece of 'Mountain Music,' I had those guys come in the studio and record it. It was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life."
  • Paisley performed the song at the 2011 ACM Awards with three newly reunited members of Alabama. He explained afterwards the story of the song: "I told Randy, 'I've got this idea. The song is all about your music, and about a girl that's in love with that old sound, and I want to use the bridge from 'Mountain Music' in it and some other lines here and there, if you'd co-write it with me. It's our way of sampling, here in the country world. He said, 'That sounds great, and I had no idea that anybody cared anymore'—sort of with a chuckle. I told him, 'Well, you're about to see how much they care, I think.' More than anything, I hope this makes their iTunes songs spike a little. They're just the coolest band we ever had, so I'm proud to get to be an unofficial member for a while."
  • "I was proud to have them," Paisley said to Billboard magazine of Alabama recording with him on the tune. "It's unique, a combination of a lot of things - blending what they do and what I do. I was a fanatic growing up. Guys like me and Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton. We played 'Tennessee River,' 'My Home's in Alabama,' 'Lady Down on Love' and 'I'm in a Hurry' - those were the songs you couldn't leave out of your set if you're from my generation. When you think about which bands influenced country music in a modern sense, it would be the Eagles and Alabama. You had Restless Heart, Exile and Highway 101 and stuff like that, but Alabama was the deal."
  • Paisley explained to Billboard magazine that this paean to true country songs is, "about a young girl who's really into old Alabama songs, which are happening these days. If you go to one of the hip-hop clubs in Nashville, they'll take a break and play 'Mountain Music.' The skating rink in West Virginia would play Madonna and Tears for Fears — but nothing would pack a floor like 'Mountain Music.'"
  • Randy Owen plays on the track the same vintage guitar that he used while recording "Mountain Music."
  • After tornadoes ravaged the state of Alabama in 2011, Paisley announced he would be donating all his artist royalties from downloads of this song to the American Red Cross to help the recovery efforts.
  • Paisley loves Corvettes and just about any type of Chevy vehicle, and they are prominently featured in the music video along with such NASCAR legends as Jeff Gordon Darrell Waltrip, and Rick Hendrick. "This song really is a driving song. So I like to throw all these things in a kettle and see what happens in a video," Paisley explained to The Boot. "So, we have Jeff and the guys from Alabama and all these old cars that Rick Hendrick was generous enough to let me use. He has a collection of hundreds of old Corvettes and Chevys and also an indoor drive-in movie theater where he keeps a lot of his collection. I've been friends with him for a while, and as we were getting ready to do the video, we were thinking of doing it a drive-in. All the cars wind up at this drive-in ... I found out later that he had never photographed it before. So, this will be the first time that anyone has ever seen his Heritage Museum, I think."

    The clip also features Paisley being super-imposed as a member of Alabama in some some of the group's classic '80s videos. "One of the fun things about the video is that we CGI'd me into the old Alabama videos, so I'm in their old clips," he noted. "I'm me now, which is so weird. I remember changing my look a little more than that. They did change, [but] I'm never going to age!"
  • When the song topped the Billboard Country charts it became Alabama's 33rd #1 and their first since "Reckless" reached the summit in the week of Nov. 27, 1993, 17 years, six months and one week previously. It was the longest spam between Country #1s since Hot Country Songs adopted Nielsen Music data the week of Jan. 20, 1990.
  • This was the first Country chart topper to mention another musical act in its title since Joe Diffie's "Bigger Than the Beatles" in 1996.

Comments: 1

  • K.c. from NhAlthough this song is listed in the category "songs with US states in the title", the "Alabama" in the title is actually the country band Alabama, who cameo in the song & video. However, the band Alabama DID borrow their name from the state.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dan Reed

Dan ReedSongwriter Interviews

Dan cracked the Top 40 with "Ritual," then went to India and spent 2 hours with the Dalai Lama.

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Randy Newman

Randy NewmanSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.