Despite his famous last name, Devon Allman has forged a path uniquely his own, beginning with his band, Honeytribe in 1999, then more recently, the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and his solo career. Now, hot on the heels of 2013’s Turquoise comes Allman’s finest work to date, Ragged & Dirty, an album that straddles Chicago blues with his Southern roots. We talk his improving guitar work, touring overseas, and why he chose to cover the Spinners’ classic “I’ll Be Around.”
With a last name like Allman, there’s going to be heightened expectations, but Devon Allman certainly delivers the goods. After spending several years in the band Honeytribe, and more recently the supergroup the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Devon has stuck out on his own for his first solo album, call Turquoise. Recorded in part at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis Tennessee, he’s crafted a very classic-sounding soul-rock album, full of honest lyrics, and supple guitar lines, that fit right in with those Allmans that have come before him.
Gregg Allman – Low Country Blues (Rounder) CD review – Gregg Allman’s solo records have always played second fiddle to his work with the Allman Brothers Band. Part of it is that most of what he does on his own is loose and low-key (he even titled one album Laid Back). Another is the fact that the Allman Brothers always had such unbelievable players, whether it be Duane Allman & Dickey Betts, or more recently, Derek Trucks & Warren Haynes – no matter who Gregg chose for his own records, they could never live up those other guys. Well, Low Country Blues is not your typical solo project from Gregg Allman.
This disc marks the first time, band or solo, that Allman has tackled an entire album of blues songs. Even though the Allman Brothers would try many styles though the years, blues was their first love, so Gregg feels completely in his element here. He also seems reenergized – this isn’t hack songwriting, it’s what he cut his teeth on: classic blues. It doesn’t hurt that he’s finally teamed with a truly awe-inspiring guitarist in Doyle Bramhall II, hot off a tour with Eric Clapton. Bramhall has been called the most underrated living guitarist, and here, he adds blistering solos to these tracks.
The sound of Low Country Blues is great – the sessions were helmed by T-Bone Burnett, who received high praise for his work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on Raising Sand. Burnett wraps these tracks in appropriate dressings – adding thump and echo to the blues stompers, and horns to a few of the upbeat tracks. “Blind Man” has a groove straight out of a Little Willie John record and horns borrowed from Albert King, while Allman growls “I Can’t Let Her Go” as if his life depended on it. “Checking on My Baby” is a slow-burner featuring a dirty guitar tone reminiscent of Muddy Waters’ sideman Pat Hare.
His signature Hammond organ is heard on “Little By Little.” He does a fairly faithful version of Muddy Waters’ first hit “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” but most of the record features blues covers so obscure, you probably won’t recognize any of them. An excellent choice of songs, great production, searing guitar work, and his best singing in years adds up to Low Country Blues being the best solo album Gregg Allman has ever done. – Tony Peters
Gregg Allman – Fraze Pavilion – Saturday, May 15, 2010
Another great night for a show. It rained in the early evening, but the clouds went away and it ended up being a beautiful night to watch some great music.
First thing I noticed was that Gregg Allman had his hair down. At several of the recent Allman Brothers Band shows, he’s worn his hair in a ponytail. Having his hair down actually made him look younger. The second thing was his voice. Gravelly, but still very strong, probably the best I’ve heard him sound in years.
He began the show with “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin‘” from Idlewild South, the second LP from the Allman Brothers and followed it with his biggest solo hit “I’m No Angel.” And thus began a night which alternated between hits and new material from an upcoming, as yet untitled solo album. In fact, Allman played more hits in one solo night than you might see in several nights with the Allman Brothers Band. “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” “Whippin’ Post,” and “Statesboro Blues,” all sounded great. He had a way of re-arranging the classic songs that breathed new life in them.
A welcome surprise was Allman’s take on the Bob Dylan song “Just Like a Woman.” He gave it a tenderness only hinted at in Dylan’s original from Blonde on Blonde. Another nice addition was saxophonist Jay Collins, who added a different element to many of the familiar songs.
Rumor has it that Allman’s forthcoming CD is going to be titled Your In Good Hands With Allman.