Album Reviews

Gregg Allman

Live: Back To Macon, GA

Artist:     Gregg Allman

Album:     Live: Back To Macon, GA

Label:     Rounder

Release Date:     08/07/2015


Since The Allman Brothers Band ostensibly called it a day (actually some 16,000 of them), Gregg Allman jumped on the chance to hone to perfection his funky, horn-imbued nine-piece solo band. Live: Back to Macon, GA was recorded in January, 2014, four days after Allman was feted with oomph and elegance at the all-star All My Friends concert, and nine months prior to the Brothers’ final show. Leading up to it all was the overwhelming acclaim for Allman’s memoirs. This double CD and DVD package exhibits without a doubt the best solo band he’s ever fronted, playing a long set of many Allman and Brothers classics. New, striking arrangements wash over the room, but from the eternal “Midnight Rider” to the lovely and underappreciated “Queen of Hearts,” Allman’s unmistakable vocal inflections stand out and lead the way. Has any other blond man ever made an old black blues song his own the way Allman has with Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues”? Gregg Allman sings the Southern mud blues in a voice that age, scars, and more than a few demons on his shoulders have actually enhanced. Guitarist Scott Sharrard slips right into the Allman guitar dynasty with sharp lick after slick slide in singular and fitting fashion. The beauty of “Melissa” envelops the listener as it always has, and with “Whipping Post,” the band rips open a lover’s blues with the strength of a rhythm and blues militia. Gregg Allman and his band do not play Southern rock. But they do make real, vibrant music born of a man from the South who knows how to rock—and roll smoothly with the best of them.

-Tom Clarke

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