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May 30, 2017
We lost another good one Saturday. Gregg Allman remains one of the most mythical figures in the country/southern rock/jam band world, and for a good reason. The guy marries Cher, defies humanity by ingesting every substance known to man, survives sickness, and multiple liver problems. A hitchhiker murdered Gregg Allman’s dad, and his slide guitar genius brother, Duane was killed on a Harley. Gregg Allman lived a life we should all be so lucky even to sniff, tragedy and all.
For over forty years, we’ve been lucky enough to watch him take us on a relentless musical journey that featured so many twists and turns, along with some well-documented hills and valleys.
With a voice that rose like smoke, Gregg Allman was 100% pure Americana with equal parts Soul and Blues. He (with co-founders brother Duane, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jai Johanson) took an integrated band from the deepest south and introduced some of rock and roll’s most timeless jams with "Ramblin’ Man" and the ultra amazing, "Midnight Rider," to the epic "Whipping Post." With a sound that was quiet and slow one moment, and vicious and roaring the next, one of the main threads throughout the magical sound of The Allman Brothers Band, was Gregg Allman’s presence on his Hammond Organ and that beautiful voice.
It’s hard to quantify these losses when they happen. We start throwing out the influences, the influencers and who showed who the guitar licks that changed the world. The tributes are pouring in and rightly so: Gregg Allman is a pillar of southern rock and to a greater degree a signifier of the power of rock and roll. If there ever were a moment in time where the Allman Brothers didn’t have a song for a moment in life, we’d be remiss to say Gregg Allman’s music had a soft spot, but fortunately for us, his legacy has those songs and even more – hard as a rock.
There’s a voodoo magic to the Allman Brothers. It’s raw but refined, spiritual but heathenish. The songs traipse through augmented reality in a way that they couldn’t be only written but conjured.
Rest easy Gregg. I hope you got to see Duane and your momma.