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Jam Central Station: The Allman Brothers

January 28, 2017 | 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.

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.
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 called it quits. 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.

Butch Trucks passes away
Butch Trucks, the drummer for the Allman Brothers, passed away of an apparent suicide this week. Trucks was 69. He will be remembered as one of the most influential drummers in the jam band scene and by all accounts a wonderful person.

Deep Roots Mountain Revival announces lineup
The Deep Roots Mountain Revival festival will return to Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV this year. The festival will run from July 20-22 and will feature Brandi Carlile, Lettuce, JJ Grey & Mofro, Moon Taxi, White Denim, Tauk, and many others.

The Disco Biscuits announce Bisco Inferno
The Disco Biscuits will return to Red Rocks for Bisco Inferno. The show will take place on June 3 and will take place on the tail end of a 4-night Colorado run. The show will also feature Shpongle and other special guests.

Tedeschi Trucks Band to tour with The Wood Brothers
The Tedeschi Trucks Band will head out on tour this summer and will be bringing The Wood Brothers and Hot Tuna with them. The bill will be on the road together for all of July.

July 1 Gilford, NH—Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
July 2 Essex, VT—Midway Lawn at Champlain Valley Exposition
July 3 Saratoga, NY—SPAC
July 5 Vienna, VA—Wold Trap
July 8 Rochester, NY—Highland Bowl
July 9 Simsbury, CT—Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center
July 12 Virginia Beach, VA—Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
July 14 Raleigh, NC—Red Hat Amphitheater
July 15 Atlanta, GA—Fox Theatre
July 16 Charlotte, NC—Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
July 19 Indianapolis, IN—Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn
July 21 Cincinnati, OH—PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
July 22 Huber Heights, OH—Rose Music Center
July 23 Rochester, MI—Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
July 27 Albuquerque, NM—Sandia Casino
July 29-30 Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Three Concerts On The Beach
February 23-25
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 26-27
Steamboat, CO
Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival, Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, Fruition, Brothers Comatose, Steep Canyon Rangers, Billy Strings

Panic En La Playa
February 27-March 3
Hard Rock Hotel
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Widespread Panic, Orgone, Southern Soul Assembly, Playa All Stars

Winter Wondergrass California
March 31-April 2
Olympic Valley, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, Hot Buttered Rum, Fruition

Wanee Festival
April 20-22
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Bob Weir, Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, Leftover Salmon, Blackberry Smoke, Matisyahu, JJ Grey & Mofro

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 21-23
Centennial Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, moe., Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Anders Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, Twiddle

Summer Camp
May 25-28
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Primus, Mike Gordon, EOTO, The Floozies, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams KWahtro, The Wood Brothers, TAUK, Twiddle, The Werks

May 25-28
Cumberland, MD
The Travelin’ McCoury’s featuring Dierks Bentley, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, Bela Fleck & Chris Thile, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Jeff Austin Band

Dark Star Jubilee
May 26-28
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Dark Star Orchestra (x3), Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Tuna (acoustic and electric), Keller Williams and KWhatro, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Nelsonville Music Festival
June 1-4
Nelsonville, OH
Ween, Emmylou Harris, Rodriguez, Son Volt, Sara Watkins, Parquet Courts

Mountain Music Festival
June 1-3
Wonderland Mountain
New River Gorge, WV
Umphrey’s McGee, The Revivalists, Twiddle, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Big Something, Spiritual Rez, The Southern Belles

June 8-11
Manchester, TN
U2, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, Turkuaz, Twiddle

Mountain Jam
June 16-18
Hunter Mountain, NY
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Elephant Revival, Shovels & Rope, The Revivalists, The Infamous Stringdusters

Electric Forest I
June 22-25
Rothbury, MI

Electric Forest II
June 29-July 2
Rothbury, MI

High Sierra
June 29-July 2
Quincy, CA
Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, Galactic, Mike Gordon, Fruition

June 30-July 2
Turin, NY

Northwest String Summit
July 13-16
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Del McCoury Band, JJ Grey & Mofro, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Turkuaz,

Levitate Music & Arts Fest
July 8-9
Marshfield, MA
Dispatch, Umphrey’s McGee, Ziggy Marley, Lake Street Drive, The Revivalists, Twiddle, JJ Grey & Mofro, Rubblebucket

Deep Roots Mountain Revival
July 20-22
Marvins Mountaintop
Masontown, WV
Brandi Carlile, Lettuce, JJ Grey & Mofro, Moon Taxi, White Denim, TAUK

Floydfest 17: Freedom
July 26-30
Floyd, VA
Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & Broken Bones, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Shovels & Rope, Turkuaz, TUAK, Fruition

August 24-27
Arrington, VA
The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, moe, Greensky Bluegrass, John Butler Trio, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, TAUK

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!