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Alabama drummer and singer promote CD at WTHO studio

When it comes to country music, Steve Ferguson has all the fun. As the music director at WTHO radio and a reporter for Music Row magazine, Mr. Ferguson has the opportunity to interview famous country artists. Many times, he invites them to the station in Thomson.

Last week, Mr. Ferguson and WTHO had the opportunity to host Mark Herndon, the drummer of the now-retired band Alabama, and country singer Leah Seawright.

"I'm not saying you're the former drummer because as far as I'm concerned, you're the drummer," Mr. Ferguson said to Mr. Herndon.

These days, Mr. Herndon is serving as Ms. Seawright's drummer and road manager.

"I told him he's starting right back at the bottom again with me," Ms. Seawright quipped.

The couple stopped in Thomson on a trip between Americus and Savannah in which they were promoting Ms. Seawright's new CD, Country Girl 101.

Mr. Ferguson said he was impressed when he first heard the CD, and people started calling in the first time he played it on air, asking who it was.

"You've got the 'wow' factor," Mr. Ferguson said to Ms. Seawright. "Whatever it is, and it can't be explained, but you've got it on that record."

Ms. Seawright is from Fort Payne, Ala., where the Alabama band originated. Like the Grammy Award-winning band, she writes and performs her own songs. In fact, she wrote thirteen of the 14 songs on the CD.

Ms. Seawright said she writes about "where I am at that point in my life," which Mr. Herndon said is why people like it.

"Her songs are about any of life's situations. It's what everybody can relate to," he said.

Mr. Ferguson reminisced with Mr. Herndon about Alabama's glory days in the 1980s, when the band released an album every year, all topping the charts. The band continued releasing albums and performing until their retirement in 2004.

"Thank you for so many years of amazing music, and we're still playing it," Mr. Ferguson said.

The three enjoyed a good laugh over some pictures Mr. Ferguson brought out of Mr. Herndon's younger years when he played in Augusta and actually played on Mr. Ferguson's own drum set in 1986.

Mr. Herndon shared a story of a particular concert with Alabama, where he'd told them he could sing as well as play the drums. So, a microphone was set up in front of him during the concert.

"About eight bars into the song, they came and picked up the mic and removed it. Nobody ever said anything, but I got the message," he said with a laugh.

Mr. Ferguson thanked WTHO Production Manager Roy Grice for letting them "invade his air space" during the middle of the day on Wednesday. When he complimented Mr. Grice's expertise in producing the show, Mr. Grice shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

"Steve has all the fun. Everybody comes to see him," he said. "I just sit out front and say 'hi' as they walk in."

Web posted on Thursday, September 02, 2010

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