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The Allman Brothers Band recently played their final show as a band. This final concert took place at a very familiar venue for the band, the Beacon Theatre in New York City. Original band members Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, and “Jaimoe” Johanson were joined onstage by longtime contributors such as Derek Trucks (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) in addition to other musicians who have filled in on various instruments over the years. The Allman Brothers Band, in existence since 1969, has ridden the emotional rollercoaster of the music industry like no band in the history of rock-n- roll and have come out with big smiles on their faces.
My introduction to the Allman Brothers Band came at roughly the age of 14. My good friend, Larson Sutton, and I would listen to the band’s vinyl records and try to come to grips with what their music was telling us. I was particularly keen on “At Fillmore East”, a musical masterpiece of raw, powerful energy and rhythm. Every song on “At Fillmore East” pushed the limits of what I once knew as “blues” or “rock and roll” to levels that I have never recovered from. Essentially, the Allman Brothers band helped form the standards for music I would listen to and follow, and they remain the standard even now well into my adult life.
I have seen the Allman Brothers Band live several times. I saw them with Dickie Betts in the 1980s. I have seen them with their current lineup with Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. I’ve seen Gregg Allman solo and have had the pleasure of meeting the legend. Their concerts have remained an energetic and lively affair. The Allman Brothers Band always put on an amazing show and have such incredible musicians all working together to produce sounds that few if any musical act has or will ever reproduce. It has been an incredible honor to say that I have attended their performances over the years.
Any discussion about the Allman Brothers Band would be remiss without the mention of original member, Duane Allman, who passed away far too young in 1971. Duane Allman is still considered by many to be one of the most influential and talented guitar players in the history of rock and roll. His style of guitar play is often imitated but never duplicated. Despite his passing in 1971, the band continued to play and perform as the Allman Brothers Band. This, in my opinion, is the ultimate tribute from one brother to another. There was a beautiful quote in a recent USA Today article about the band. “I think Duane’s presence is part of the moment-by-moment journey that this band is still on, both musically and from a vision standpoint,” guitarist Warren Haynes told the Wall Street Journal’s Alan Paul in advance of the show. “A lot of times, if there’s a musical question the answer somehow relates to what Duane’s approach would be.”
The Allman Brothers Band will live on forever in my soul through their songs, albums, and recorded concert footage. They are one of my favorite bands to listen to when I am driving to work or doing yardwork or having a bad day. As a guitar player and lifelong fan of music, I respect the musical genius of this group and remain in awe of their talent. I congratulate you on an amazing 45 year run and wish you all the best in whatever you might do next.