A sad day for Southern rock and roll. Yesterday the news broke that one of the genre’s most influential artists, Gregg Allman, has passed away. NPR reported, “Allman’s manager, Michael Lehman, told NPR News Allman had suffered a recurrence of liver cancer five years ago, and died from complications of the disease.”
Allman passed peacefully, surrounded by loved ones at his home near Savannah, Georgia. An official statement on the southern rocker’s website included:
“Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.
“Gregg’s long time manager and close friend, Michael Lehman said, ‘I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.’
Butch Trucks, the founding drummer of southern rock icons Allman Brothers Band, has died. Rolling Stone reported his passing, confirmed by Page Stallings, Trucks’ booking agent; the cause of his death is currently unknown. He was 69 years old.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1947, Trucks co-founded The Allman Brothers with Gregg and Duane Allman in 1968, along with guitarist Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley on bass, and fellow drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson. Continue reading →
Now in its second year, Scranton’s Peach Music Festival is coming back to the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain on August 15th to August 18th. Presenters and headliners The Allman Brothers Band return for two nights, accompanied by Rat Dog, The Black Crowes, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Rusted Root and more. Following last year’s much-loved “Wake Up With Warren” solo set, this year festival-goers will be greeted by “Brunch With Bobby” on the Sunday morning, featuring an acoustic set by Bob Weir. Head over to the Peach Music Festival website here to view the full line-up (more acts will be announced soon). Presale tickets will be available tomorrow at 10am, with general tickets going on sale this Friday, February 22nd. More information can be found here. Below, watch Gregg Allman perform “Midnight Rider” with Zac Brown Band at last year’s inaugural festival.
This review of the Yestival by John Diliberto, host and producer of Echoes, originally appeared in The Echoes Blog. Listen to Echoes on WXPN Mon-Thursday evenings from 11PM-1AM.
In 1971 I went to the Orpheum Theater in Boston for a double bill of Yes and King Crimson. Being too hip for the room, I was there to see the Islands edition of Crimson. Yes, of course, were just too pop for me. I mean, they had actual hits with “Roundabout” and “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Krimson gave a good performance, although this was the least interesting edition of the band. But Yes, this night anyway, wiped them off the stage with a combination of charisma, impeccable musical virtuosity and Jon Anderson’s choirboy yearning. I walked out a fan, and would have to wait for the Lark’s Tongue edition of Krimson for them to catch up.
I found myself in a similar place this past Saturday night at the Yestival, a one day festival of progressive rock headed by the latest iteration of Yes, and the most controversial. This band always had trouble holding its personnel together, but there was always at least one constant, the signature voice and lyrics of Jon Anderson. But Anderson was effectively booted from the band in 2008, due to a combination of illness and apparent lack of commitment. With the absence of signpost members like drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, I felt like I was seeing a shadow of this band, no more credible than the Genesis tribute band, The Musical Box, who opened. This couldn’t be the Yes of Fragile or Close To The Edge. This was just a touring paycheck machine.
Uh, I was wrong, which was something that about 5500 people at the Yestival in the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ already knew. Anderson’s replacement, (his second actually), Jon Davison, is frighteningly good. The singer for the American symphonic prog group Glass Hammer, he sounds like a clone of Anderson, except a clone who hits all the notes, sings with passion and ties the band together with his stage presence. By the time they hit the “Total Mass Retain” section of Close to the Edge, no one was missing Jon Anderson and no one was thinking Davison was a substitute. He is the lead singer of Yes.
Since this was a festival, Yes was slated to play only two albums straight through instead of the three they’re performing on their solo tour. But they decided to throw in the third album anyway playing Close to the Edge, Going for the One and The Yes Album. What magnificent works they are and beautifully performed. Bassist and co-founder Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe, a member of Yes beginning in their classic years, anchored the band. Howe switched between electric guitar and lap steel, whipping out the slides of “Going for the One” and nailing the intensity of “Starship Trooper.”
Still an underrated player, Howe matches fleet fingered runs with beautiful tone. Squire stalked, grimaced and yowled stage left, ripping out those chunky bass-lines that are such a Yes signature. Neither keyboardist Geoff Downes nor drummer Alan White, both members of later Yes editions, took much of the spotlight, but they provided the orchestral color and rhythmic thrust so essential to this group, who, for all their odd time signatures and multi-movement works, really drives as hard as any rock band. I don’t care about the excess; nine keyboards stacked up just have a certain gravitas and power that the smaller keyboard set-ups of Volto! and Renaissance couldn’t match. I can’t say the same for Chris Squire’s triple necked guitar he pulled out at one point. One Rickenbacker bass is really all he needs. Continue reading →
This just in: The Allman Brothers are performing two shows at the Tower Theatre on Friday and Saturday November 26th and 27th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 30th and are available here. Below, check out a classic video of the band (with their original lineup) performing of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” at the Fillmore East in 1970.