Michael Ray, Jake Owen Bring Randy Owen to Tears With Alabama Cover [WATCH]
On Saturday night (Jan. 26) in Memphis, Tenn., Randy Owen led a guitar pull during a St. Jude Country Cares Seminar closing-night dinner. His efforts to help raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital had been touted all weekend long, but onstage, some of his fellow country artists took a moment to honor his musical legacy.
Along with Owen, Saturday night's guitar pull featured Clint Black, 2019's Angels Among Us Award winner Jake Owen and Michael Ray. After each performer, including Randy Owen, took a turn at the mic, the Alabama frontman and Country Cares for St. Jude Kids founder demurred at the start of the next round, telling his younger co-stars that he felt the crowd would rather hear more of their hits than his own songs.
Instead, however, Ray and Owen began trading lines from Alabama's No. 1 hit from 1983, "Lady Down on Love." Randy Owen's backing musicians joined in to offer musical accompaniment, while Black lent harmonies. Readers can press play above to watch a snippet of the moment.
Throughout the performance, Randy Owen stood behind his mic onstage and looked on, his hand over his mouth in surprise. The country legend could be seen wiping away tears and, after the song ended, left the stage to compose himself. The crowd of radio programmers and media members, meanwhile, offered a standing ovation.
Randy Owen founded Country Cares -- a program that unites country radio stations, the genre's artists and industry members to raise money for St. Jude -- in 1989. In the program's 30 years, it's raised more than $800 million to help St. Jude treat the patients with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases who walk through its doors, and research cures for those diseases. Earlier in the weekend, Owen was honored for his efforts with a patient room at St. Jude dedicated in his name.
"I feel like [giving back is] our duty as a country music entertainer. It’s not just singing songs for people and entertaining. It’s what we do with the platform ... I think there’s more to what we do than just singing songs," says Jake Owen, who received the Angels Among Us Award in recognition of his own fundraising endeavors for St. Jude. "I just love the fact that [St. Jude is] presenting a place for families to come and not have to worry anymore ... To be able to come to a place like this, be taken care of, be informed — I don’t find there’s anything else that’s as valuable as St. Jude."
A series of fundraising radiothons, held annually by more than 200 country radio stations across the country, is the anchor of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program. The year's efforts begin each January with the Country Cares Seminar, during which nearly 1,000 country radio programmers, media members and artists gather in Memphis. To donate, visit StJude.org.
See More From the 2019 Country Cares Songwriters Dinner