When the biggest name in country music rolls through Jackson, people talk.
These days they’re talking about the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, where Randy Owen, lead singer and songwriter of country sensation Alabama, is slated for a live, if somewhat scaled-back, performance Thursday at 8 p.m.
By all measures Alabama is the most successful country band of all time. From its inception in 1980 onward, Alabama has turned the music industry on its head by continuously proving ownership over the band’s own words and craft. Despite over 50 gold and platinum records, everything from Grammy Awards to American Music Awards, 21 consecutive No. 1 hits, countless No. 1 singles and 80 million-plus records sold, Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Walk of Fame member Owen hasn’t stopped there.
His passion for people led him to a life of paying it forward: Owen works closely with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and his own brainchild, Country Cares, for which he has raised over $800 million.
“When Bill Baxter bought the Cowboy Bar three years ago one of his main visions was to bring the Cowboy back to its heyday,” said Justin Smith, talent buyer for both the Cowboy Bar and the Wort Hotel’s Silver Dollar Showroom. “So we started having these headlining shows.”
If a performance from Owen isn’t an homage to the Cowboy’s heyday, Smith doesn’t know what is.
Even in the presence of such a legend the Cowboy will adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, opting for, as Smith puts it, “a sit down get down show.” Guests are encouraged to jam out to Owen’s greatest hits from the comfort of their own table, creating an intimate setting for his Jackson debut.
“When our team got together to decide who’s next earlier this year, and it became clear that, if we could get Randy Owen at the Cowboy, we’d be seriously raising the bar,” Smith said. “Randy does sit-down shows on occasion, and we can’t wait for Thursday because everyone will be able to enjoy his songs and the stories behind them.”
Owen, as all good musicians do, has kept his set list under wraps, but Smith can’t imagine him taking the stage and not pulling out all of his hits. Some possibilities include “Dixieland Delight,” “Tennessee River,” “Feels So Right,” “Love in the First Degree” and “Song of the South.”
And, as he strums his guitar Owen likely will tell the audience stories from his 22 years on the road.
Although Owen’s Thursday night show at the Cowboy is sold out, he launches a steady stream of top-notch talent Smith has planned for the Cowboy Bar through 2021.
“This year, we’re bringing out headliners for the festival during Memorial Day weekend, so look out for that lineup soon,” Smith said. “It’s an extraordinary event where we bring in big country music names.”
The Million Dollar Music Festival will return this year, he said, though it will take place inside the bar rather than on Town Square, which will create a more personal ambiance for guests and artists alike.
“There’s so much good talent out there,” Smith said. “We’re always looking for something incredible, and I love that challenge.”
Visit MillionDollarCowboyBar.com for info and updates on future performers. ￼