Friday, January 28, 2011
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
Gregg Allman has lived through drug addiction, Hepatitis C, marriage to Cher and a liver transplant. He has also been making records both solo and with the Allman Brothers since 1969, but this is his first album of blues covers, and the material suits him. "Low Country Blues" is his first solo album in 14 years and was produced by T Bone Burnett. The album features 11 covers of songs from legendary bluesmen Muddy Waters, Otis Rush and B.B. King (among others), with one original song written by Gregg and the Allman Brothers' Warren Haynes. Gregg's backing band on the album includes Dr. John on piano and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar.
I have heard some people complain that T-Bone Burnett is too heavy-handed when producing, but I do not hear that. Burnett is a master at capturing the "roots" sound, and while I can hear a definite Burnett influence on the record (a rootsy yet unobtrusive element), it does not take away from the performance. Allman's voice and piano playing fit the blues like an old glove-smooth and natural. Production is excellent, Gregg's voice is in top form and the choice of musicians is top notch.
Back in the day, Gregg and Duane set the bar for revitalizing the blues and presenting them in a new a creative way. On this release, Gregg gets back to the music that influenced him all those years ago. All in all, a fine release from a rock legend.