music / Columns

Jam Central Station: The Allman Brothers Band

October 25, 2014 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

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.

Unfortunately, this is where things really went downhill for the band. 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 stronger night to 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 in October.

After 45 years, numerous lineup changes, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and hundreds of sold out Beacon shows, the Allman Brothers are finally hanging it up. They will be remembered as one of the premier bands from the late 60’s and early 70’s and possibly the most influential southern rock band of all time.

Martin Scorsese producing Grateful Dead documentary
Martin Scorsese will be producing an authorized documentary on the Grateful Dead in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary. The documentary will feature never before seen performances and interviews.

Umphrey’s McGee announce 2015 tour
Umphrey’s McGee just kicked off their fall tour, but they also announced their 2015 winter tour. The band will kick off the tour in January and will stay on the road through March. The band will also be streaming their entire fall tour, concluding with their 2000th show on November 8.

January 16 New York, NY—Beacon Theatre
January 17 New York, NY—Beacon Theatre
January 18 Huntington, NY—The Paramount
January 28 Oxford, MS—The Lyric
January 29 Knoxville, TN—Tennessee Theatre*
January 30 Cincinnati, OH—Taft Theatre
January 31 Detroit, MI—The Fillmore*
February 4/5 Chattanooga, TN—Track 29
February 6 Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium
February 7 Asheville, NC—Asheville Civic Center*
February 11 Charlottesville, VA—The Jefferson Theater
February 12 Richmond, VA—The National
February 13 Norfolk, VA—The Norva*
February 14 Raleigh, NC—The Ritz
February 18 Northampton, MA—The Calvin Theatre*
February 19 Portland, ME—The State Theatre*
February 21 Albany, NY—The Palace Theatre*
March 5 San Diego, CA—House of Blues
March 6 Los Angeles, CA—The Wiltern#^
March 7 Oakland, CA—The Fox Theater#^
March 12/13 Aspen, CO—Belly Up Aspen
March 13 Aspen, CO—Downtown Aspen CORE Party
March 14 Salt Lake City, UT—The Depot^
March 15 Missoula, MT—Wilma Theater^
March 19/20 Portland, OR—Crystal Ballroom^
March 21 Seattle, WA—Moore Theatre^
#w/Joshua Redman
^w/The Revivalists
Bassnectar and Pretty Lights team up for BassLights
Bassnectar and Pretty Lights will once again be teaming up for the Basslights show. The shows will be on December 27 and 28 at Hampton Coliseum. Chromeo, Beats Antique, Eliot Lipp,a nd Exmag will also be at the shows.

Phil Lesh to webcast Halloween
Phil Lesh will be webcasting their October 31 and November 1st shows from teh Capitol Theatre. These are the first two shows of the band’s 10 show residency.

Greensky Bluegrass announce winter tour
Greensky Bluegrass will be on the road for a winter tour starting in January. The band will be supporting their newest album, If Sorrows Swim.

January 13 Bloomington, IN—The Bluebird
January 14 Knoxville, TN—Bijou Theatre
January 15 Birmingham, AL—WorkPlay
January 16 Nashville, TN—Marathon Music Works
January 17 Athens, GA—Georgia Theatre
January 20 St. Petersburg, FL—State Theater
January 21 Jacksonville, FL—Freebird Live
January 22-23 Charleston, SC—The Charleston Pour House
January 24 Abingdon, VA—Barter Theatre
January 27 State College, PA—The State Theatre
January 28-29 Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Bowl
January 30-31 Washington DC—9:30 Club
February 4 Northampton, MA—Pearl Street Nightclub
February 5 Syracuse, NY—The Westcott Theater
February 6 Cleveland, OH—The House of Blues
February 7 Grand Rapids, MI—The Intersection

Leftover Salmon announce tour
Leftover Salmon will be on hitting the road starting in February. The group will be touring for the first time with new member Bill Payne.

February 5 Big Sky, WY—Big Skye Big Grass
February 6 Victor, ID—Knotty Pine Supper Club
February 7 Victor, ID—Knotty Pine Supper Club
February 8 Big Sky, MT—Big Sky Big Grass
February 11 Missoula, MT—The Top Hat*
February 13 Boise, ID—Knitting Factory [Boise]
February 14 Park City, UT—Park City Live*
February 17 Durango, CO—Animas City Theatre
February 18 Durango, CO—Animas City Theatre
February 19 Telluride, CO—Sheridan Opera House
February 20 Telluride, CO—Sheridan Opera House
*w/Hot Buttered Rum

Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 24-26, 2014
Placerville, CA
Performers include: Railroad Earth (3 nights), The Meter Men, Leftover Salmon, The Jeff Austin Band, The motet, and many others

Suwannee Hulaween
October 31-November 2, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Thievery Corp., Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, EOTO, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

Bear Creek Music & Art Festival
November 13-16, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds, Break Science, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Turkuaz, The Main Squeeze, Tauk, and many others

Strings & Sol
December 11-15, 2014
Puerto Morales, Mexico
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Greensky Bluegrass

Christmas Jam
December 13, 2014
U.S. Cellular Center
Asheville, NC
Performers include: Gov’t Mule, VInce Gill, billy and the Kids, Hard Working Americans, The Revivialists, and many others.

Jam Cruise
January 6-11, 2015
Departs from Miami, FL

Tropical Throe.down
January 9-13, 2015
Grand Lido Resort
Negril, Jamaica
Performers include: moe., Floodwood, Conehead Buddha Horns, and Ha Ha The Moose.

Island Exodus
January 14-18, 2015
Grand Lido Negril
Negril, Jamaica
Gov’t Mule will host the event

Panic en la Playa Cuatro
January 24-28, 2014
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Widespread Panic will host this event

One Big Holiday
January 31-February 4, 2015
Hard Rock Hotel
Riviera Maya, Mexico
My Morning Jacket will host the event

Aura Music Festival
March 6-8, 2015
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: The Disco Biscuits, moe., Papadosio, Snarky Puppy, kung Fu, Dopapod, Jimkata, The Main Squeeze, American Babies, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 30-August 2, 2015
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT

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!

article topics :

Brittany Howard, Jeff Modzelewski