Tipping their hats to their fathers, and filling in their boots, The Allman Betts Band carries on the legacy of southern blues rock that was started with their fathers in the 1960s. Live streamed from Belly Up in Solana Beach, California this Sunday, their sound transported listeners to a dusty western town and wrapped them up in a homey sense of familiarity as they played covers of the long time loved hits of their dads’ group, The Allman Brothers Band, as well as some of their own original songs and covers.
The band’s new single “Magnolia Road,” is a song that begs to be blasted with the windows down as one’s cruising back roads in a sleek old car on a hot summer’s day. As they sang “Sweet Magnolia Road take me home,” it gave that classic country feel. Their covers of The Allman Brothers Band’s timeless hits “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and “Blue Sky” from the 1972 album Eat a Peach were spot on. The voices and long haired, mustached appearances of front liners Devon Allman and Duane Betts are incredibly similar to those of their fathers.
“All Night,” their first song on their first record, and their second song written together, is a calmer ditty, but it carried a very full sound. Wielding a gold top guitar just like his father, Duane Betts led people into the breakdown with a fingerpicked solo, and Johnny Stachela saw the song on its way out with his dreamy slide guitar playing.
“Down to the River,” also a song on their first record, is a reflective tune about leaning on nature when you need time to breathe and work out some inner issues. Devon Allman introduced the it by saying: “It’s really about, you know, when things get tough, just kind of throw it all to the side and get out in nature. That’s where you can do your best thinking and clear your head, and kind of get to the core of what’s going on with you.” The groovy song in itself is enough to melt away one’s worries; with the soft beat of bongo drums played by R. Scott Bryan, accompanied by the rawness of Devon Allman’s soulful singing and John Ginty’s riffs on the keys, people can’t help but sway and drift off to another place in your mind.
Special guest Marc Ford, former lead guitarist of the rock and roll band The Black Crowes (and many others), joined the group for a cover of “Wiser Time.” Supplying the song with hearty chords and twangy picking, Ford generated the original sound from the song while Devon Allman took on vocals. For “Trouble No More,” Berry Oakley Jr. stepped up to the mic for vocals while continuing to rock the bass, and R. Scott Bryan’s hands flew like the wind for his solo on the keys. Sticking around for one more song, Marc Ford continued to play guitar, creating an army of four guitarists in total. The energy of the song was unmatchable; each player in the band jammed at full capacity and went all out. Slide guitar master, Johnny Stachela, also once again did not disappoint.
Aside from putting on their live stream show, the band has taken their extra down time during the pandemic to work on their new album, Bless Your Heart, coming out August 28th. To get a taste of their new songs, they also performed their second single off of the new record, “Pale Horse Rider.” A slower jam, in contrast to the energy of the rest of the show, this track has a tender soul-searching quality to it.
The band misses touring and coming to people’s towns to play, but they are grateful to still have a means of performing: “Thanks for buying your tickets and supporting the band, we don’t know when we’re going back on tour, we hope it’s ASAP,” Devon Allman said. If concert season doesn’t come soon enough the band is willing to put on another live stream show.
Airboats ‘N Cocaine
Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
(The Allman Brothers Band cover)
(The Allman Brothers Band cover)
Down to the River
(The Black Crowes cover with Marc Ford)
Trouble No More
(Muddy Waters cover with Marc Ford, Berry Oakley Jr. on vocals)
Pale Horse Rider