The Allman Betts Band: Down to the River
The band’s initials are ABB and they are led by players named Allman, Betts and Oakley. They are, no doubt about it, proudly carrying on a legacy. But don’t prejudge The Allman Betts Band—this is not a tribute act cashing in on what their famous parents created. Vocalist/guitarist Devon Allman, the son of Gregg, vocalist/guitarist Duane Betts, the son of Dickey, and bassist Berry Oakley Jr.—joined by third guitarist Johnny Stachela, drummer John Lum, percussionist R. Scott Bryan and keyboardist John Ginty, along with appearances from Peter Levin and Chuck Leavell—are not all that interested in recreating a sound that originated half a century ago. While some of the hallmarks of the Allman Brothers Band are embedded in their music—blame it on the DNA—they’re all about keeping it contemporary. The nine jams comprising their debut are packed with musical information—wherever there is a triple-guitar attack, there’s going to be a lotta licks flying around—but the song structures are trimmer and, in some instances, exhibit more of a pop influence than expected. Don’t come here looking for “Whipping Post 2.0.” Most of the songs are co-written primarily by Allman and Betts, and range sonically from the all-out power blast of the opener “All Night” to the acoustic/electric mix of “Autumn Breeze” to the soulinformed title track, a song that, in a different era, would have been all over your favorite AOR rock station’s playlist. “Southern Accents,” the piano-fronted Tom Petty ballad, nods to another fallen giant of the region. Southern rock is alive and in good hands with The Allman Betts Band.