published Thursday, November 15th, 2012

'A Pink Carpet Country Celebration'

Randy Owens headlines Mary Ellen Locher benefit

If You Go

• What: Randy Owen and friends in "A Pink Carpet Country Celebration."

• When: 7:30 p.m. today,

Nov. 15.

• Where: Tivoi Theatre,

709 Broad St.

• Admission: $51.50.

• Phone: 642-TIXS.

• Website: www.ChattanoogaOnStage.com.

Alabama Facts

• Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year five times.

• ACM Artist of the Decade in 1989.

• American Music Awards' Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group 14 times.

• Named either Vocal Group of the Year or Entertainer of the Year by Country Music Association six times and Instrumental Group of the Year twice.

• Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2005.

• Inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.

• Grammy awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal 1982-83.

• The band's official online bio claims 43 No. 1 singles, 21 gold, platinum or multiplatinum records and more than 73 million records sold.

Like a lot of people, Randy Owen gets up every day looking for an angel. His reasons, however, might be a little different than others'.

"I get up every day and say, 'Where will I find my angel today?' I'm looking for some one or some thing, or maybe two or three things, that I can do to make a difference in someone's life."

He hopes that one of those things will be the concert he will perform today, Nov. 15, at the Tivoli Theatre for the MaryEllen Locher Foundation. "A Pink Carpet Country Celebration" will feature a chauffeured, pink-carpet arrival and star walk for breast cancer survivors. Proceeds will help support the foundation's scholarship program.

Owen said in a telephone interview that Locher, who died after battling breast cancer for many years, was a "special little girl who was so positive and always smiling." He said her employers at WTVC, where she was an anchor, were "the most supportive TV station" for his band, Alabama, during its meteoric rise to superstardom.

"I couldn't even begin to talk about all the stuff they did," he said.

Owen spends most of his time these days writing, performing at charity events and hosting a syndicated radio show, "Country Gold With Randy Owen," heard locally on WUUQ-FM 97.3/99.3.

He also spends a good deal of time walking the roads near his Alabama home with his wife, picking up trash. It was on one of those treks that he got a life lesson that deeply touched him and led to his search for angels, he said.

"What happened to me is I get out here and pick up beer cans and garbage," he said. "Me and Kelly try to keep the road nice and neat.

"One day I'd been out there, and I was a little irritated, and a van pulled up. The man got out and asked if he could take a picture with his son. I looked pretty rough, but I said, 'OK.' Then the door opened and out came the wheelchair. I felt about as small as I could, and I promised I'd never feel that way or do that again.

"I've been given the opportunity to make a difference. I worked hard for it, but I can make a difference."

Owen applies that same sense of inner fortitude to his radio show. He could easily record it from his home and mail it in, literally and figuratively, but he said, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right."

He approaches the show with the idea of introducing fans to music and the musicians that he loves.

"I play oldies country, and sometimes I reach in and play a new artist. I love the music, and I love the radio. I didn't have a radio until I was 15."

In addition to the benefit show tonight, Owen will join Alabama for the band's annual Christmas for Kids benefit concert in Fort Payne the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the band will play the Grand Ole Opry on Dec. 1.

Asked if the Opry show will be just Alabama hits or if it would include Christmas hits, Owen got silent for a minute and then said, "You come find out."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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