The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts
Following in your father’s footsteps can be a challenge, but when Devon Allman comes to The Lyric Theatre, the singer, songwriter and guitarist brings his own musicianship and style along with his father’s legacy. Allman lost his father, Gregg Allman, in May 2017 and he took time offto reflect on his loss and how to best honor his father. The younger Allman had been performing for 12 years, playing 250 dates a year and he took several months to “rack up time with my kid,” visit relatives and heal as he began the next phase of his career.
For Allman, it was a good time for reflection and inspiration. “It felt good to take time off,” he said. “I needed to step back and make up for lost time with the people that are close to me.”
Allman did return to his music for one very special day. On December 8, 2017, on what would have been his father’s 70thbirthday, Devon Allman and some special friends celebrated his father’s music at the iconic Fillmore in San Francisco, a venue that was so important to the elder Allman’s career. Artists like Robert Randolph, Luther and Cody Dickenson, G Love, members of Phish, Samantha Fish and Jimmy Hall took part in the celebration. “It was a magical evening,” Allman said. “It was like a family gathering. There was so much great music, so many musicians who had such respect for my father, all of whom felt a personal connection to both the man and his music. When my manager told me we could do the concert at the Fillmore, a place that obviously had such profound ties to my dad’s career, I couldn’t have been happier.”
That event helped to rekindle Allman’s enthusiasm for several new projects for 2018 and beyond. In March, his new six-piece band, The Devon Allman Project, launched a world tour with special guest Duane Betts, the son of Allman Brothers co-founder Dickie Betts. The two have known each other since they were boys and had always spoken about going on tour together. The timing was right. Betts will open the show, Allman will do his thing, and they’ll come together on stage for an encore.
Duane Betts’ grew up traveling on the road with the Allman Brothers Band and was named after a man who Rolling Stone has ranked as high as #2 on its list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. "Duane Allman was an amazing guitarist, probably the greatest slide guitarist of all time," he said. "It's an honor to be named after him, and I accept it, but it's kind of heavy. And its heavy when you're a musician and your dad's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But at a certain point, you have to remember that you're not trying to surpass them."
Betts’ debut EP is out this year, Sketches of American Music, containing five original songs that reflects a career steeped in rock, country and blues. The album was recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles and features Stoll Vaughan, co-writer on “Taking Time,” along with Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the M.G.s) and Marc Ford (Black Crowes).
Allman also has a new record for 2018, Full Speed Ahead. A staunch proponent of authentic Southern blues, this work is steeped in a classic American tradition, with the type of music associated with Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and others from the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s.
Allman also has his own new record label, Create Records. The first release, slated for late in 2018, will feature a new band, The Slays, with Allman and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. The label will continue to seek out new talent and offer artists a chance to develop their talent and creativity.
From his days with Devon Allman’s Honeytribe through chart-topping collaborations with Jack Bruce, Javier Vargas and the royal Southern Brotherhood, to his three solo albums, Devon Allman has carved out a career that would make any dad proud.