Jeff Cook, a founding member of the band Alabama, is battling Parkinson’s disease and is stepping away from touring.
Cook and the band’s co-founders Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry made the announcement Tuesday morning (April 11) in an interview with The Tennessean< newspaper in Nashville.
With hits such as “Feels So Right,” “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight,” “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band),” Alabama became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
In a video statement, Cook said he was diagnosed with the disease four years ago.
Other musicians will be enlisted to cover Cook’s vocal and instrumental parts when the band’s tour resumes on April 29 in Stockton, California. However, Cook plans to perform at the group’s May 27 show in Orange Beach, Alabama, and during its Fan Appreciation Weekend taking place June 16-18 in Fort Payne, Alabama.
With shows scheduled in the U.S. and Canada through November, Cook plans to attend some shows along the way. Owen and Gentry said Cook’s microphone will always be onstage should he decide to join in the performance.
“We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” Gentry said.
Cook plans to continue working with Owen and Gentry in the recording studio.
“If I’m healed overnight, I’ll be at the next show,” Cook told the newspaper. “I do believe in prayer, and I’m not giving up.”