Friday, August 7, 2015

CD/DVD Review: Bluesman Gregg Allman Goes "Back To Macon, GA" With New Live Solo Album

As the Allman Brothers Band were laying down the terms for their final performances together, bandleader Gregg Allman was beginning to stretch his legs again with the freedom of his solo band. He took every opportunity to perform on his own again over the course of the last few years, revisiting some of his earlier solo work which has stayed locked up in the closest while performing the hits of the Allman Brothers Band. There would finally be a time to let some of his lesser known songs the freedom of being performed live as Rounder Records/Blackbird Music Group will be releasing "Gregg Allman Live: Back To Macon, GA" on August 7th.
 
It features the 67 year old Allman performing alongside an exceptional backing band which consists of former Allman Brothers bandmate Marc Quinones on percussion, Bens Stivers on keyboards and Scott Sharrad on guitar, filling that legendary position wonderfully. The new double-CD/DVD release captures the entire show in stunning high definition as Allman mixes together his solo work with Allman Brothers live staples. Beginning with "Statesboro Blues," things are off to a great, somewhat familiar start, but that's where the similarities end. He wastes no time bringing out his solo hits with "I'm No Angel" and "Queen of Hearts," but once he leaves his keyboards and straps on his guitar, classic Allman Brothers tunes like "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" and "Hot Lanta" get a facelift with the addition of a horn section. You cannot compare Gregg Allman's latest band with the Allman Brother Band because it would not be fair, plus a fresh representation of this songs give them a new energy.
 
The show on the DVD gets broken up with the occasional Gregg Allman interview segment (which are given separate chapters on the DVD, but not included as a whole in the bonus features). It does not distract too much, but with technology now a days, it would be a great option to just have the entire concert play through and keep the live music flowing.
 
The second half of the show begins with the band showcases their skills on the jamming introduction to the Allman Brothers' classic "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'." Allman's song "Melissa" sound right a home in this setting, while "Midnight Rider" gets slowed down to give it a more country feel. The show closes with the familiar one-two punch of "Whipping Post" and "One Way Out" as Allman takes center stage on his guitar, which he wasn't able to do that often in the Allman Brothers Band, as he joined by his son Devon Allman.
 
Along with interviews of members of Gregg Allman's solo band, the DVD contains two bonus tracks that are not included on the CD. They are the very bluesy T-Bone Walker original "Stormy Monday" and "Floating Bridge" from his most recent solo album. This new release shows a new inspiration flowing through the veins of Gregg Allman as he continues to surround himself with an amazing band that deserves to be heard. To find out more about this new live album "Back To Macon, GA," please visit greggallman.com.

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