Alabama is an American country, Southern rock and bluegrass band formed in Fort Payne, Alabama in 1969. The band was founded by Randy Owen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass guitar, background vocals). They were soon joined by their other cousin, Jeff Cook (lead guitar, fiddle, and keyboards). First operating under the name Wildcountry, the group toured the Southeast bar circuit in the early 1970s, and began writing original songs. They changed their name to Alabama in 1977 and following the chart success of two singles, were approached by RCA Records for a record deal.