music / Columns

Jam Central Station: The Allman Brothers

February 16, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski
Allman Brothers Band



The Allman Brothers Band are the very picture of perseverance. Duane and Gregg Allman had already been trying to make a living playing music when Duane began jamming with Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley, and Dickey Betts in the late 1960’s. It didn’t take long for Duane to bring in drummer Jaimoe Johanson and then begin to bring Gregg into the fold. The chemistry was immediate, and the band released their self-titled debut album in 1969.
The Allman Brothers Band was a critical success, but it had very little commercial appeal. Their 1970 follow up, Idlewild South, did much better commercially, and included the radio-friendly hit “Midnight Rider.” The band really began making a name for themselves with their live shows, however. Improvisational jams lasting a half hour or more were not uncommon, nor were shows that lasted well into the night. The band’s impressive live performances were the source of their third album At Fillmore East. This double album captured part of the band’s two-night stand at the Fillmore East in New York in 1971. At Fillmore East is considered by many to be the definitive Allman Brothers album, and has been ranked high in multiple “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists.

The band was becoming a major factor in the early 70’s rock and roll scene when disaster struck, a mere two years after their initial 1969 release. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1970, months before the band released their third studio album, Eat A Peach. Berry Oakley died just over a year later, also in a motorcycle accident. The band could have easily given up at this point. They had lost two of their founding members, including half of their namesake. Instead, the band continued on, releasing Brothers and Sisters in 1972, their biggest commercial success to date.

While the band was doing well commercially, things really went downhill personally. Personal conflict and drug use led to a string of less-than-stellar albums, lineup changes, breakups, and continued conflict. More breakups and reunions were common for the band in the 80’s but no real success came from that time. The band released a pair of unsuccessful albums that did little to excite old fans, new fans, or the band themselves. While they easily could have faded away during that time, the core of the group was able to continue to push on and look for ways to bring the band back. They reunited for their 20th anniversary, bringing in some new additions including Warren Haynes, Johnny Neel, and Allen Woody.

This proved to be the resurgence that the band needed. The new members meant there was new energy, and, due to the success of bands like The Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers found a renewed interest in southern rock music. They released Seven Turns in 1990 and began touring regularly. They set up an annual residency at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. While there was always an ongoing internal struggle with the band, they continued to tour very successfully. Allman and Betts simply couldn’t maintain a relationship, meaning that the band was always on the verge of breaking up. The band became unhappy with their live performances, with Betts being at the center of that issue. The band decided to tour in the summer of 2000 without Betts, which led to him suing the band and his subsequent removal from the group. Butch Trucks nephew Derek had been performing with the band prior to Betts’ departure and became a full-time member.

This incarnation of the band proved to be the most stable in the history of the group. While they only released one studio album after 2000, 2003’s Hittin’ the Note the live shows were diverse and exciting. Gregg Allman had stopped drinking in the late 90’s, leading to the band being consistently strong night after night. The annual Beacon run became a yearly tradition for many fans. The band also became mainstays on the festival circuit, headlining the Wanee Festival every year (often with Widespread Panic) and introducing their own Peach Music Festival.
The downside of bringing in the new blood, however, was that both Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes had their own projects that they were interested in pursuing. Haynes’ Gov’t Mule continued to gain popularity, and they were often able to play similar venues to the Allman Brothers. Trucks continued to play with the Derek Trucks Band followed by the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife Susan Tedeschi. At the same time Gregg Allman continued to suffer from health problems that often impacted the band’s schedule. In early 2014 both Trucks and Haynes stated that they would be leaving the band at the end of the year. While Allman initially insinuated that the band would continue on, they eventually decided to end with one last run. The band toured throughout the summer of 2014, primarily at large festivals, and wrapped up their career with one final run at the Beacon that October.
Although the Allman Brothers are done, their music lives on. Both Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes have continued to find success and keep the spirit of the Allman Brothers alive with their respective projects. Both routinely play Allman Brothers songs, and the remaining members of the Brothers have often shared the stage with them. Dickie Betts played shows in 2018 for the first time in years, and recently the Devon Allman and Duane Betts have teamed up in a new project. One of the marks of a great band is the legacy they leave, and there are few bands that will live longer than the Allman Brothers.



Lockn’ announces lineup
Lockn’ announced their 2018 lineup, and it is full of collaborations. There will be scheduled sit-ins across the festival, including all of the headliners. The lineup includes Trey Anasasio Band w/ Derek Trucks, Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. w/ Susan Tedeschi, Otiel & Friends w/ Bob Weir, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Revivalists, Gary Clark Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, moe., Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Twiddle, Galactic, Soulive, and plenty of others.

Inaugural 4848 Festival announced
The 4848 Festival will take place in Snowshoe WV from July 11-13. The first-year event will feature two nights of Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lettuce, Railroad Earth, Marcus King Band, Billy Strings, Turkuaz, Fruition, and plenty of other great acts.


Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Riviera Maya
February 15-17
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Phish in Riviera Maya
February 21-23
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO
Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Billy Strings, The California Honeydrops, Della Mae with Bonnie Paine, Jeff Austin Band, The Shook Twins

Suwannee Spring Reunion
March 21-24
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Steep Canyon Rangers, Billy Strings, Peter Rowan, Donna the Buffalo, Larry Keel Experience, John Stickley Trio

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush Band, ALO, Fruition, Billy Strings, Jeff Austin Band, The Travelin’ McCoury’s

Bender Jamboree
April 11-14
Plaza Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Billy Strings

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 19-21
Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Rebelution, Moon Taxi, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Turkuaz

May 16-18
Marvin’s Mountaintop
Masontown, WV
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (x5), Aqueous, Litz, Mungion, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

May 23-26
Cumberland, MD
The Del McCoury Band, The String Cheese Incident, The Travelin’ McCourys, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Marcus King Band, Billy Strings

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-26
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Big Gigantic, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Trampled by Turtles, Blues Traveler, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Spafford, ALO

Dark Star Jubilee
May 24-26
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Dumpstaphunk, The Lil’ Smokies, Donna the Buffalo, The Nth Power

Camp Greensky
June 6-8
Wellston, MI
Greensky Bluegrass (3 nights), Del & Dawg, Stephen Marley, Billy Strings, Hiss Golden Messenger, Circles around the Sun, Ghost Light, The Rebirth Brass Band, Bombino

June 13-16
Manchester, TN
Phish, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, GRiZ, Nahko & Medicine for the People, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Jim James, Trampled By Turtles, The Wood Brothers, Shovels & Rope, The Record Company

Mountain Jam
June 13-16
Bethel Woods
Bethel, NY
Willie Nelson & Family, Gov’t Mule, The Avett Brothers, The Revivalists, Twiddle, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dispatch, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Michael Franti & Spearhead

Keller in the Caverns
June 21-23
Pelham, TN
2 Keller Williams performances as well as Pettygrass, More Than A Little, and a Grateful Gospel Brunch

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20-23
Telluride, CO
Brandi Carlisle, Sam Bush Band, Jim James, Greensky Bluegrass, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon: Stories from the Living Room, Punch Brothers, Railroad Earth

Electric Forest
June 27-30
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
3 nights of The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Lettuce, The Floozies, TAUK, Spafford, Twiddle, Ghost Light, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Nth Power, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Smoky Run Music Festival
June 28-30
Butler, OH
Gov’t Mule, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Deer Tick, Son Volt, The Travelin’ McCoury’s & Jeff Austin Band present Grateful Ball, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Rumpke Mountain Boys

July 4-6
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY

High Sierra
July 4-7
Quincy, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, Del McCoury Band, Jim James, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, ALO, Marcus King Band

4848 Festival
July 11-13
Snowshoe Mountain
Snowshoe, WV
Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lettuce, Railroad Earth, Marcus King Band, Billy Strings, Turkuaz, Fruition

Ride Festival
July 12-14
Telluride, CO
Widespread Panic, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Big Something

Camp Bisco
July 18-20
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA

FloydFest 19 “Journey Home”
July 24-28
Floyd, VA
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, The String Cheese Incident, Brandi Carlile Tyler Childers, Margo Price, Fantastic Negrito, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grace featuring Love Cannon

Peach Music Festival
July 25-28
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Phil Lesh & Friends, Trey Anastasio Band, The String Cheese Incident, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, moe., Greensky Bluegrass, Lotus, Lettuce, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Allman Betts Band, Billy Strings

Lockn’ Festival
August 22-25
Arrington, VA
Trey Anasasio Band w/ Derek Trucks, Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. w/ Susan Tedeschi, Otiel & Friends w/ Bob Weir, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Revivalists, Gary Clark Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, moe., Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Twiddle


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!