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Allman Betts Band – Jazz Fest 6/28

By on June 21, 2019
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He’s A Brother

Music runs through the veins same as blood, proof of that is The Allman Betts Band. Devon Allman and Duane Betts sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts of the The Allman Brothers Band have formed The Allman Betts Band along with Berry Oakley Jr. on bass (the son of original Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley), Johnny Stachela on slide guitar, John Ginty on Hammond B3 (Robert Randolph Band), percussionist R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crow) and John Lum. All seasoned musicians, coming together on the same wavelength bringing a mood and feel to the music that fills the heart and soul. A collaboration that works on every level. Devon Allman knows how to sing a song… he feels it, and so does the audience.

When I asked Devon how the band came about with both Duane and Berry his reply was the same for both, “He’s a Brother.” The soul-filled connection is evident on stage where in April we attended a sold out show at the Homer Center For the Arts, on the first leg of their Down to the River World Tour. They played songs from their new album, songs of their dads in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band, and the show also included a Tom Petty and a Dire Straits song.

About coming together as a band Devon said, “Our fathers were in a band together, we met that way. We were doing our own thing, but we always wanted to work together. We liked jamming together and we are all one family, we kinda knew all along that we would work together. It’s all about timing, timing is everything.” 

The new album Down to the River will be released on June 28th, the same day they will be taking the Main Stage at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Down to the River was recorded at the historic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. About recording their album at Muscle Shoals Devon Allman said, “It was an amazing experience. Many of our heroes made so many important recordings there. It was humbling, and just what the music needed.” 

About the songs for Down to the River Duane Betts says, “We worked on the majority of the songs on the road, on the bus and backstage. They are all original songs, with a few surprises.” Most of the album was recorded live on tape, nine songs in five days. “It was an organic experience, the recording took on a life of its own, it was important to us to get that 70s feel on the album,” Devon Allman said. The album was produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine) with a guest appearance by keyboardist Chuck Leavell (former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist). Devon said, “He’s the best rock keyboardist ever, it was an honor to have him on the recording.” And Duane adds, “We love him like an uncle.”

Berry Duane Oakley Jr. joins Devon and Duane on this tour and according to Devon, “He is a great musician. We thought he would be a natural choice for what we are doing.” Berry has been touring extensively with several bands over the years including with his godfather, Robby Krieger of the Doors and in 1992 with the band Bloodline, with a line-up that included Joe Bonamassa and Erin Davis (son of Miles Davis). In 2000 Berry joined Blue Floyd a jam band that included members of the bands Black Crows, The Allman Brothers Band, and Gov’s Mule. 

Life on the road is bittersweet for the band. “We miss our kids and the simple things like driving or fixing food. But the joy you get from making people feel good with your music overshadows all the things you miss. We love what we do, we get to entertain people and help them forget their troubles,” Devon said. Duane adds, “We know the fans are pulling for us and it is amazing to see it out there. We sold out 1,600 seats in Long Island, that’s a milestone in our careers, with all that love coming our way we double down on our performance and anything is possible.”

The Allman Betts Band will perform a Free Show on Friday, June 28th at 9PM on the City of Rochester Midtown Stage.

Photos by Karen Fien – Homer, NY, April 11, 2019

Duane Betts, Devon Allman and Berry Oakley Jr.

Duane Betts, Devon Allman and Berry Oakley Jr.

Devon Allman

Devon Allman

Duane Betts

Duane Betts

Berry Oakley Jr.

Berry Oakley Jr.

Johnny Stachela

Johnny Stachela

devon-duane

devon-1

duane-john

devon-john

Homer Center for the Arts

Homer Center for the Arts

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