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Author: Subject: My 6/2015 Gregg Allman Interview: Solo Band New CD, ABB Working W/Lynyrd Skynyrd, One More For The F

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  posted on 6/29/2015 at 02:49 PM
http://guitarinternational.com/2015/06/26/gregg-allman-the-midnight-rider-c rafting-music-his-way/


Gregg Allman: The Midnight Rider Crafting Music His Way!

By Arlene R. Weiss
© Copyright June 25, 2015 By Arlene R. Weiss-All Rights Reserved

Gregg on acoustic guitar: photo by patricia o'driscoll
The legendary Gregg Allman – photo credit: Patricia O’Driscoll

Legend, music pioneer, and amazing blue-eyed soul stylist Gregg Allman can proudly lay claim to being one of the all time great, influential, landmark artists in rock history.

After some forty five years making music with his esteemed Allman Brothers Band, the ABB retired last October 2014 after playing an acclaimed slate of finale shows at New York’s Beacon Theater.

Allman, however is one exuberant musical road warrior and has no plans whatsoever to ever retire.

In keeping with his storied musical roots, Allman, much like the many venerable blues and R&B artists he has performed with and been influenced by, is busier than ever crafting new and exciting music projects.

Allman is a supreme solo artist who has written, recorded, and performed some of his most stellar craftwork on his own. He has enjoyed a highly successful solo career since 1973, launched by The Allman Brothers Band’s rejection of one of his most nuanced and emotionally rich songs, the enigmatic “Queen Of Hearts”. That rejection spurred Allman to go into the studio and cut his own debut solo album, the R&B and soul imbued, deeply personal “Laid Back”. He’s since released numerous acclaimed gold and platinum solo albums and toured with his solo groups, simultaneously while writing, recording, and performing with The Allman Brothers Band.

Gregg Allman - SidneySmithPhotos.com
Gregg Allman -photo credit: sidneysmithphotos.com

These days, Allman now very much looks forward to dedicating all of his time towards songwriting, recording, and performing with his new eight member solo band. The current lineup, which Gregg expounds as the best ensemble he’s assembled yet, includes bassist Ron Johnson, drummer Steve Potts, keyboardist Ben Stivers, saxophonists Jay Collins and Art Edmaiston, Dennis Marion on trumpet, former ABB percussionist Marq Quinones, and Musical Director, guitarist Scott Sharrard.

Gregg lights up the stage with his band, while eloquently strumming his acoustic guitar, crafting richly nuanced textures on his beloved Hammond B3, and singing out his heart with sublime phrasing and soulful, purposeful emotion.

Last year some of music’s most esteemed artists honored and paid tribute to Allman at a special January 10, 2014 concert held at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater. That concert, which featured Vince Gill, Jackson Browne, Robert Randolph, John Hiatt, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Trace Adkins, and Dr. John was released as the sterling CD/DVD All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs & Voice Of Gregg Allman.

Allman is especially proud and exuberant discussing his new live CD/DVD, Gregg Allman Live: Back To Macon, GA, recorded and filmed live at Macon, Georgia’s Grand Opera House, which will be released August 7, 2015 on Rounder Records.

The recording showcases dynamic live performances and interpretations of some of Gregg’s most stunning solo repertoire including “Queen Of Hearts” and “I’m No Angel”, and Allman’s superb readings of friend Jackson Browne’s “These Days”, Wilson Pickett’s “I Found A Love”, and Ray Charles’ “Brightest Smile In Town”. Allman Brothers Band signatures “Melissa”, “One Way Out”, “Midnight Rider”, “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Midnight Rider” and “Statesboro Blues” receive Gregg’s solo band’s interpretations, re-arranged and orchestrated featuring his band’s own musicality and its horn section to reflect an R&B groove.

“They really make things swing”, as Allman joyfully relates about his band’s virtuosity, and his ABB songs “have a sway to them now, and I enjoy that.”

Allman is also proud to be highlighted as a very special guest of Lynyrd Skynyrd, performing “Tuesday’s Gone” on their new double live CD/DVD, Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Fans, coming out July 24, 2015, which was also filmed and recorded at Atlanta’s Fox Theater.

Allman is currently enjoying his 2015 U.S. and European solo tour which includes July 26’s Ramblin’ Man Fair in Maidstone, U.K., July 31’s Gathering Of The Vibes in Bridgeport, CT, August 13’s Peach Music Festival in Scranton, PA, September 20’s Blues and Brews Festival in Telluride, CO, and culminating on January 21, 2016 with The Rock Legends Cruise IV departing Fort Lauderdale.

Gregg also has plans to record more solo albums, which will showcase his own songwriting, with the possibility of collaborating again with Don Was who served as Musical Director and bassist for “All My Friends” and also with T-Bone Burnett again, who produced Allman’s 2011 critically acclaimed blues album, Low Country Blues.

For Gregg Allman, the road does indeed go on forever, and he exuberantly wouldn’t have it any other way, looking forward to writing, recording, and performing his dazzling and sublime soundscapes, continuously into the future. Just like the elder statesmen rock and blues artists and friends that Allman has spent much of his life collaborating with from B.B. King and Eric Clapton, to Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.

Gregg Allman, the legendary blues brother and “Midnight Rider” graciously took time during his many 2015 summer show dates to fondly discuss his solo career, tour, and upcoming CD/DVD releases.

******

Gregg also playing Gibson SG New Orleans
Gregg Allman playing his Gibson SG at The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA on New Years Eve – photo credit: sidneysmithphotos.com

Arlene R. Weiss: Hi Gregg, how are you? Congratulations on your solo band’s 2015 tour, and on the August 7, 2015 release of your new live CD/DVD, “Gregg Allman Live: Back To Macon, GA” recorded and filmed live at Macon’s Grand Opera House. What resonated about this particular performance and music venue for you, that made you want to release this show? What are some of the fond, creative highlight musical moments of that night that are captured in the release?

Gregg Allman: First off, let me say how proud I am of this album. We found a groove early that night, and it took off from there. We smoked it, boy! I listened to it a few weeks afterwards, and it passed the test with flying colors.

Macon is a place that holds many, many special memories for me, and I always look forward to playing there. The Opera House is a wonderful venue. The sound is incredible, man. Highlights? Everything we played was a highlight!

Arlene: Now that The Allman Brothers Band have retired, you can now concentrate and channel all of your artistic energy, time, and songwriting towards your solo career. In what ways does being able to now focus all of your creativity towards your solo career and music, inspire and affect your live performances with your solo band, your future plans to record your solo material, and especially your songwriting?

Gregg Allman: Well, I’ve had a solo career since 1973, so that hasn’t changed at all. The only thing that is different is that I don’t have to bounce back and forth between bands anymore.

I couldn’t be happier about how the Allman Brothers wrapped it up. We went out on top, man, and we’re all proud of that. Forty five years is a long, long time for any band to be together and play as well as we did. As for my solo band, things are great. There is only one cook in the kitchen, if you know what I mean, so there is no drama at all. We’ve developed real chemistry and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing now.

GA Fender amp
Gregg Almann – photo credit: sidneysmithphotos.com

Arlene: As a songwriter, over the years, how did you decide which of your songs you wanted to record and perform with The Allman Brothers Band, and which ones you wanted to record and perform as a solo artist? Was it a matter of your own choice, circumstance as in the ABB rejecting some of your songs, or some of both? Are there any songs of yours that the ABB didn’t do, that found a special place in your heart and in your solo career? Which of your songs are you proudest of and why?

Gregg Allman: A little bit of both, actually. You see, my solo career was launched by rejection. We were working on Brothers and Sisters, and I brought in “Queen of Hearts,” a song I had been slaving over.

I thought it was pretty good, but I couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to it. Finally, I pressed the issue a bit, and I was flat-out told the song didn’t say anything. Boy, that was all it took. I headed right into the studio and I started working on what would become “Laid Back”, my first solo album.

That rejection turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, and that is why “Queen of Hearts” is so important to me. As for other tunes, I’d say “Midnight Rider” is the song I’m proudest of in my career, and “Melissa” is special because it was the first song I wrote and kept, and it was my brother’s favorite.

Arlene: Your wonderful All My Friends CD/DVD which was filmed and recorded January 10, 2014 at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, and released last year featured some stellar artists in a tribute concert honoring you. You also were a very special guest of Lynyrd Skynyrd last November, also at Atlanta’s Fox Theater where you performed “Tuesday’s Gone” for their upcoming Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Fans double CD/DVD coming out July 24, 2015. How did you become involved with these two projects and what were your emotions and creative experiences having so many of your peers tip their hat in praise to you and jamming with you?

Gregg Allman: I got involved with both of those projects through Michael Lehman, my manager. All My Friends was a true highlight of my latter years, no doubt. There was so much talent up on that stage it was unbelievable, man.

People were there from all stages of my career, and it is something I’ll never forget. The Skynyrd thing was very cool, as well. The original band was a special bunch, and they really loved and respected my brother.

The Brothers toured with the current Skynyrd line-up several times over the past ten years or so, and both bands had a lot of fun together, so I was honored to be part of the Skynyrd tribute. “Tuesday’s Gone” is a great tune, man, and it was the perfect song for me to sing. And with both shows being at the fabulous Fox, who could ask for more?

GA 1973 hotel room stringing acoustic guitar
Gregg Allman – photo credit: sidneysmithphotos.com

Arlene: I watched a clip of you performing my favorite solo song of yours, “I’m No Angel” from your live CD/DVD. You’re in wonderfully vibrant and stellar form and your vocals are just supreme. Do you practice or do warm up exercises to maintain your legendary, soulful singing voice?

Gregg Allman: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to take care of my voice. I put my vocal chords through a lot of abuse when I was younger.

Best thing I ever did was quit smoking. Man, smoking will just destroy your voice. I tell anyone who is a singer to never smoke, and if they do, to quit right now. I gargle in the shower with hot water every day, but nothing helps your voice more than a good night’s sleep. A long, deep sleep does wonders for your throat.

Arlene: Your solo band performs a blend of both Allman Brothers Band songs and songs from your solo catalogue. How do you arrange and orchestrate your ABB songs differently to reflect the different musicality of your solo band?

Gregg Allman: The biggest difference is that I have a horn section with my band, and they really make things swing. It’s more of an R&B groove, so I’ve re-arranged some of my Allman Brothers songs to better fit that sound. Songs like “Statesboro Blues,” “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’” and “Whipping Post” have a sway to them now, and I enjoy that.

Arlene: What are your future creative plans and projects?

Gregg Allman: I would like to do an album made up of solely my compositions, which I’ve been thinking about for some time now. The most important thing is that I plan on playing music for a long, long time. I can’t stop now, man.

© Copyright June 25, 2015 By Arlene R. Weiss-All Rights Reserved


[Edited on 11/6/2015 by ArleneWeiss]

[Edited on 11/6/2015 by ArleneWeiss]

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 6/29/2015 at 05:16 PM
quote:
there is only one cook in the kitchen, if you know what I mean

I wonder who it is?

 

____________________
Well 30 years of heart and soul,lord we took it further than rock and roll.
We stood together thru thick and thin,yeah we made the best of it all back then.
Then I guess time took it's toll,cut me deep,cut me cold.
Brother against brother....

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 7/1/2015 at 02:00 PM
Some really good, high quality pictures included in that piece that I hadn't seen before.

Thanks for sharing

 

Peach Bud



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  posted on 7/22/2015 at 10:45 AM
"You see, my solo career was launched by rejection. We were working on Brothers and Sisters, and I brought in “Queen of Hearts,” a song I had been slaving over.

I thought it was pretty good, but I couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to it. Finally, I pressed the issue a bit, and I was flat-out told the song didn’t say anything. Boy, that was all it took. I headed right into the studio and I started working on what would become “Laid Back”, my first solo album."

Interesting and strange that the ABB thought that "Queen Of Hearts" "didn't say anything" as Gregg says here. I love that song so I'm wondering what they were looking for in his songwriting at the time to say such a thing. Oh well. Glad it all worked out for Gregg though. Like his tip of the hat here to Skynyrd, past and present. Ronnie would approve!



[Edited on 7/22/2015 by DuaneGtr]

 

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  posted on 7/22/2015 at 11:54 AM
quote:
quote:
there is only one cook in the kitchen, if you know what I mean

I wonder who it is?


There some pretty good CHEFs (at various times) in that other kitchen!

 

____________________
Music is love, and love is music, if you know what I mean.
People who believe in music are the happiest people I've ever seen.

Bill Ector, Randy Stephens, Dan Hills and a guy named BobO who I never met - Forever in my heart!

 

Peach Head



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  posted on 7/22/2015 at 12:58 PM
From the second picture in the article looks like one of Gregg's early tattoos was of Wile E Coyote


 
 


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