ALBANY — It was the ’70s, man. Times were different; the music was different.
And 38 Special was there.
Music lovers take note: 38 Special are here today and still playing strong. The group, which was founded by young friends Don Barnes, Donnie Van Zant (brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame) and bassist Ken Lyons, is scheduled to perform at the Albany Municipal Auditorium on Nov. 8.
The trio of friends lived near each other in Jacksonville, Fla., and in 1974 began playing together, along with guitarist Jeff Carlisi. The group added drummers Jack Grandin and Steve Brookins to complete the original band. And since all bands need a catchy name, a profound name representing the era that they become “that band,” the band members came up with the name 38 Special.
Listeners could feel the heavy inspiration of the newly formed group’s Southern roots as the members of 38 Special were greatly influenced by Lynyrd Skynyd, the Allman Brothers and the Marshall Tucker Band. New to the scene, the guys practiced in an abandoned warehouse in Jacksonville until they began touring relentlessly in 1977.
The band’s first album, “38 Special,” started their musical march through history. The group has had multiple gold and platinum albums over the years. Several of their greatest hits — among them “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up In You” — have influenced many new musicians through the years.
Though members of 38 Special have changed over time, the group of musicians that comprises 38 Special today is still rocking hard. Founding member Barnes is still traveling the road of his dreams as he leads bassist Barry Dunaway, Bobby Capps on keyboards, Gary Moffatt on drums and guitarist Jerry Riggs on the road for a tour of more than 100 cities a year. The band works hard to keep the energy high and the music true. Touring so many cities a year shows the love and gratitude the members of 38 Special have for the music and their fans.
The band that has been together for more than four decades will bring its unique sound to Albany at the Municipal Auditorium, which was also the site of a recent sold-out show by fellow Southern rock warriors Marshall Tucker and will, in the same month, welcome the Charlie Daniels Band. The auditorium will open on the day of the show at 6:30 p.m., and the music will begin at 7:30 p.m.