The Allman Betts Band has announced their ‘Trippin’ into Spring 2022′ tour dates. The run will begin on March 1 in Milwaukee, WI, and will make stops across the country and Hawaii.
Ahead of the Spring tour, the Allman Betts Band will be on the road as part of The Allman Family Revival tour – a 19 date, star-studded celebration of the life, spirit, and music of Gregg Allman.
TRIPPIN’ INTO SPRING 2022
3/1 @ Turner Hall Ballroom | Milwaukee, WI
3/2 @ Kalamazoo State Theatre | Kalamazoo, MI
3/3 @ Kent State University | Kent, OH
3/4 @ Riverfront Live | Cincinnati, OH
3/5 @ Robins Theatre | Warren, OH
3/6 @ EXPRESS LIVE! | Columbus, OH
3/9 @ Town Ballroom | Buffalo, NY
3/10 @ The Stanley Theatre | Utica, NY
3/12 @ Garde Arts Center | New London, CT
3/16 @ Lebanon Opera House | Lebanon, NH
3/18 @ Loos Center for the Arts | Woodstock, CT
3/24 @ Hart Theatre at The Egg | Albany, NY
3/27 @ Whitaker Center | Harrisburg, PA
4/1 @ Hawaii Theatre | Honolulu, HI
4/2 @ Maui Arts & Cultural Center | Kahului, HI
When The Allman Betts Band released Down to the River in June of 2019, the debut album represented not only the first time the group had recorded together, but, in fact, the first time the seven-piece ensemble had ever played together. If Down to the River was the sound of the band’s combustible sparks igniting, then Bless Your Heart is their bonfire, built for the summer of 2020 and beyond; a double-album follow-up fueled by road-forged camaraderie and telepathic musical intensity, vibrantly reflecting the individual and collective experiences of these seven, all drawing inspiration from the band’s symbolic hometown- a place Devon Allman calls “the United States of Americana.”
In 2019, as Down to the River topped charts and dotted playlists, The Allman Betts Band toured. Relentlessly. Sold-out U.S. theatres in spring turned to festival dates in summer, even crossing over the Atlantic for a string of European appearances. It was in Germany in late July when Allman, the group’s co-founder, guitarist, and singer, required a tour-ending hospital stay for minor, but necessary surgery. His recovery postponed several ensuing shows, but the writing for a second album enthusiastically continued. Along with co-founder, guitarist, and singer Duane Betts, the pair already had a growing notebook of new songs, largely composed on the tour bus or in hotel rooms in cities and towns across the country: Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Tybee Island, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois and Charlotte, North Carolina, to name a few. They re-enlisted Stoll Vaughan, a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles (via Kentucky), who’d collaborated on five of River’s nine tracks, to advise on the developing material. And they booked a return to Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, the historic recording facility where they’d cut the debut, as well as re-signing Grammy-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang to reprise his role helming the recording.
After Allman’s healthy return and a run of fall tour dates, including the third annual Allman Family Revival (expanded from San Francisco to Denver and New York City), the group decamped to Nashville for rehearsals ahead of the recording session, fleshing out the new songs until satisfied they had reached peak performance. “We thought that if we can maximize the potential of each song, then we have a shot at making a cohesive, great record,” says Allman. Under a siren’s warning of approaching tornados, but secure in the familiar, single-story brickhouse comfort of Muscle Shoals, the band began tracking its own brand of whirling, raucous rock-and-roll. Following a year’s worth of touring as a unit- as Allman says, the “200 races the horse had run”- the dividends were immediate and plentiful. “Now we know how the band plays. We know to trust each other’s instincts. The dynamics have a flow to them: when to step back; when to push forward,” says Allman. Adds Betts, “Once we got rolling, the floodgates opened.”
A conflagration of influences and invention, confidence and ambition, Bless Your Heart captures a vast, panoramic scope throughout a baker’s dozen of modern rock. Ragged and stomping. Heady and frayed. Soaring and scorching. Generational and genteel. West Coast scenes and Gulf Coast shores. Gateways of the Midwest and swamplands of Florida. Wyoming’s Big Sky. New York’s Big Apple. Chicago’s Broad Shoulders. Among the fiery set is “Magnolia Road,” a semi-autobiographical overview of Allman and Betts written, ironically, by Vaughan alone, and a tie-dyed contender for summer festival favorite. There is the album’s starter, “Pale Horse Rider,” ominously evolving into a dark and dense rumbler accentuated by an unbridled storm of guitars, evoking the spirit of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and modern counterpart, My Morning Jacket. And “Ashes of My Lovers,” a mourning motif of romance and wreckage, inflected with trail-dusted harmonica complementing the cinematic Badlands spook. Or “Airboats & Cocaine,” with its tongue firmly in its cheek, telling the Southern Gothic tale of a girl born into the wrong family and her guy regretting his incidental associations with the underbelly of swampland contraband, wrapped up in a loose, mid-tempo stinger.
Over a week’s time, they recorded 13 songs, with additional tracking in Memphis and St. Louis. Within the eclectic repertoire are the familiar: stacks of guitars; electric, acoustic, and slide; a throttling, percussive rhythm section. And the fresh: Bassist and singer Berry Duane Oakley’s ABB vocal debut on his original song (“The Doctor’s Daughter”); Allman’s baritone vocal channeling Johnny Cash (“Much Obliged”); Betts extending the legendary family legacy of incendiary instrumentals (“Savannah’s Dream”). They tapped friends, as well, such as Jimmy Hall, Shannon McNally, Art Edmaiston, Susan Marshall, and Reba Russell for guest contributions. Then, emerged with an undeniable achievement of an album (what sophomore jinx?) worthy of its winking, unabashedly Southern title. “I think we definitely challenged ourselves, pushed ourselves artistically, and widened the spectrum on all levels. We wanted something that was a little more sweeping. A deeper experience,” says Betts. Says Allman, “I hope what people hear on Bless Your Heart is a band that’s having a love affair with being a band.”
On December 8, 2017, Devon Allman invited a couple dozen of his closest musical compadres onto the hallowed stage of The Fillmore to perform a three-hour, multi-set monster of a concert for the sold-out crowd that filled the historic San Francisco venue in tribute to Allman’s late father, Gregg. The date was bittersweet; what would’ve been Gregg’s 70th birthday. For Allman, in a year when the award-winning musician lost both parents within a few months of each other, what started as a simple idea of music as medicine had given birth to The Allman Family Revival: a happy and healing cosmic experience celebrating the life, spirit, and indelible musical legacy of Gregg Allman.
The format for this ambitious undertaking, Allman says, was inspired by one of rock’s most famous concerts (and film). “I had recently re-fallen in love with The Band’s The Last Waltz and thought that would be perfect: let our band come out and serve as the appetizer; then one-by-one welcome our special guests; have them do a song they are known for and also do an Allman-centric song.”
Year one, the newly-formed Devon Allman Project with Duane Betts indeed welcomed a slew of heavyweights to the tribute: G. Love; Robert Randolph; Luther and Cody Dickinson; Alex Orbison; and Samantha Fish, to name a few. In 2018, Allman and Betts installed The Allman Betts Band as the Revival’s house band, adding wunderkind Marcus King to the already-impressive guest list for another sold-out affair at The Fillmore. By 2019, Allman extended the scope of the now-annual event, and the invites (including Cheap Trick’s legendary singer, Robin Zander), slating Allman Family Revival shows in San Francisco, Denver’s Mission Ballroom, and New York City’s Beacon Theatre. In 2020, the global pandemic forced Allman to pivot to a February 2021 date, adapting the Revival to a single, socially-distanced performance at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium and included Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie) and JD Simo among the now-familiar faces of Allman’s ever-expanding musical family.
“I like having artists that knew Dad, played with him, maybe were an opening act, or were really influenced and inspired by him,” Allman says. “As for a venue, I prefer those turn-of-the-century to mid-20th century, old-school theatres. They are just gorgeous inside, sculpted for sound, and provide the perfect location for these very special shows. I love for this concert to feel like a night at the theatre for our audience.”
Once envisioned as a single celebration in San Francisco, the Allman Family Revival, in its fifth year, has evolved into a full-fledged, coast-to-coast tour. As curator, host, and performer, Allman remains true to the painstaking mission of providing an epic event worthy of its inspiration. “I want to make sure there’s some ‘sonic ginger,’ to cleanse the palette amidst all those guitars,” Allman says with a smile. “I really enjoy working with the guests individually on setlists to make each show a very special night. It’s a daunting task, for sure, but a labor of love every time.”
Among the marquee names scheduled for 2021’s Revival are Robert Randolph, Eric Gales, Jimmy Hall, Donavon Frankenreiter, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Cody and Luther Dickinson, Lilly Hiatt, and Lamar Williams Jr., plus, of course, more surprises to come.
“My favorite part is just the joy of the audience. I can tell they are touched and getting every penny’s worth,” Allman says. “Knowing Dad is looking down saying, ‘Damn, son, all that hot jammin’ for me?!’ I know he’s tickled that we celebrate him. Because none of us has to do this. We all have busy careers. This is a ‘want to’ situation; absolutely, 100% about music and