Couples swayed to the music while friends chatted at the bar as Alabama Avenue performed Friday night at Eighth & Rail in Opelika, Alabama.
Alabama Avenue was established in 2005, and their popularity has grown in the last two years. The band has performed for Auburn Athletics, the city of Auburn and two other downtown venues.
The band is now also performing outside of the Auburn-Opelika area in places such as Dothan, Alabama, and Augusta, Georgia.
“Our goal is to play the entire southeast, and we would love to play at all the southeast conference schools,” said Michelle Powell, wife of Alabama Avenue lead guitar player Johnny Powell.
Johnny Powell owns and books all of the band's performances. He also chooses which covers the band performs.
“He focuses on songs that will get people out of their seats to sing and dance,” Michelle Powell said.
Eighth & Rail is special to Alabama Avenue. They have a great relationship with Mike Paterson, owner of Eighth and Rail.
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“Eighth & Rail has been fabulous to get us started in the Auburn-Opelika area," Michelle Powell said. "They got us pretty much on the map. Mike Patterson really cares about the local musicians.”
Alabama Avenue has been performing at Eighth & Rail since 2016. The band has performed there at least ten times since their initial debut.
“They always seem to bring a good crowd with them,” Patterson said.
For Patterson, it's not just about the bands it's about introducing the community to music.
“I like having all the interactions with the community and local bands that come through,” said Patterson. “I have bands coming in from Nashville, and in a couple months we will have this band coming from California. It’s nice to introduce some new stuff to people here who wouldn’t normally hear these bands.”
Patterson's initiative to introduce new music to Lee County appears to be going well because community members enjoy the music.
“I think they are awesome,” said Lindy Williford. “The music is good and this location is nice. I love the couch and table setting.”
Alabama Avenue's next performance is scheduled for “Come Home to the Corner” this fall for the city of Auburn.
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