What does it sound like?:
I suppose it was inevitable that the descendants of the Allman Brothers Band would eventually get together and form a band. Devon Allman (son of Greg) has been out on the road with his own band for a good few years now, Duane Betts (son of Dickey) has been playing with Dawes for a while and Berry Duane Oakley (son of Berry – this is starting to sound like a Tolkein book now) has been drafted in (too late to get his name on the marquee, I notice) to complete the family. Sensibly, they have also drafted in Pete Levin, Greg’s old sideman, and ex-Allman Band Chuck Leavell, thereby adding organ and piano, to give it that authentic sound.
I had already seen some Youtube videos of them playing live – mostly Allmans covers – and they were competent, sympathetic to the originals, without blowing me away. This album however, has some sparks of encouragement for the future.
The opener is All Night and it rocks along nicely, probably the show opener. However it highlights the first drawback. Devon’s voice just ain’t that good. Look, I’m not expecting him to sound like his Dad, who possessed a voice of soulful, southern gold, but the voice is adequate. That’s all. Adequate.
Shinin’ follows, with some twin lead guitars on the intro and Betts Minor taking lead vocals. Now, that’s more like it. Duane has his Dad’s nasal, southern twang but with a soupcon of Greg’s soul. The next couple of tracks are a bit more inconsistent – some of the songwriting needs to up its game, to be honest – but the playing is excellent. And then comes Autumn Breeze and I’m sold. At nearly 9 minutes long it never flags and you just know it will be stretched onstage. The solo (Betts?) which takes up most of the second half builds beautifully, the organ chords behind it lifting the band and helping them find another gear. It is worth the price of admission alone.
Good Ol’ Days is a slower song which Devon’s voice fits better, as does the closer, Tom Petty’s wonderful Southern Accent. This is a great version, true to the original, where the vocal fits perfectly.
What does it all *mean*?
I was determined not to make too many comparisons to the band that their collective fathers had but, if you have the balls to use those iconic surnames as the name of your band, then it’s tough not to.
This is a very good album. Well played, well recorded, well packaged. As a debut, it augurs well for the future. Autumn breeze is an outstanding track and, behind that solo, the band really motors.
The songwriting needs some work but the signs are encouraging.
Goes well with…
Sunny days, an open road and nothing on the horizon.
U.K release is set for 12th July.
Might suit people who like…
Your Allmans, your Lynyrds and your Marshalls.