William Shatner and Jeff Cook to Perform at Grand Ole Opry

William Shatner and Jeff Cook to Perform at Grand Ole Opry

Actor William Shatner will continue his foray into music, with a debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry on Friday, February 15, alongside Jeff Cook, co-founding member of the iconic country-rock band Alabama. Shatner will also emcee part of the show.

Best known as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek" and lawyer Denny Crane on "The Practice" and "Boston Legal," Shatner has received countless accolades for acting, including two Emmys and a Golden Globe Award. Cook, meanwhile, has enjoyed seven multiplatinum albums and over 30 number one records with Alabama. The band was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Cook and Shatner recently released the country album "Why Not Me" (Heartland Records Nashville), with guest vocals by country star Neal McCoy, the band Cash Creek and the a cappella group Home Free, winners of NBC's "The Sing-Off" in 2013.

"I've always loved country music," Shatner said. "I think the best singers, performers and music are in country and I am delighted to think of myself being a small part of it."

Most of "Why Not Me" was recorded at Cook's studio in Fort Payne, Alabama. A fan of "Star Trek" since he was a teenager, Cook said he never imagined that he would one day record an album with Shatner.

"I feel real honored that we got to work together, and I wouldn't be opposed to doing it again," Cook said. "This is probably the biggest project to come out of my studio."

Cook's upcoming appearance with Shatner will include a performance of the album's title track, which Heartland Records Nashville plans to release to Country Radio in late February. Written by Corey Lee Barker and Shawn Sackman, "Why Not Me" is an uplifting reflection on how solutions to many of the world's problems can begin with individuals taking personal responsibility.

Equally inspiring are "What Some People Throw Away" (Cook's personal favorite) and the exquisitely beautiful "That's What Dreamers Do," an ode to idealists who are striving to make a better world.

Other tracks on the album are not quite so serious. In his playfully dramatic, talk-singing style, Shatner has fun with Cook on such songs as "I Hate to Waste Good Beer," "Hush Her with a Kiss," "Too Old to Be Vegan," "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Alone" and more. One of the funniest, and perhaps most meaningful songs (at least, for "Star Trek" fans) is "Beam Me Up," a lyrical reference to a popular bourbon brand and a pun on Shatner's famous catchphrase, "Beam me up, Scotty!"

"Why Not Me" is not Shatner's first musical project, but it is his first country album. The project was the brainchild of Brian Curl, president of Heartland Records Nashville, who coproduced it with Cook and Shatner.

"I knew that Jeff was a 'Star Trek' fan, and I was also a fan of Bill's acting," Curl said. "Since Bill had recorded spoken-word albums over the years, I thought it would be great to put the two of them together. I hope the album reaches the hearts and souls of not just Bill's and Jeff's fans, but music fans in general."

William Shatner and Jeff Cook will perform at the Grand Ole Opry, 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, on Friday, February 15, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at www.opry.com/calendar or by calling 800-733-6779.

"Why Not Me" is available through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and HeartlandRecords.net.

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