It is very easy to have preconceived ideas about two sons bred from an iconic band like The Allman Brothers. Devon Allman and special guest Duane Betts are on tour together and the mating of these two ‘guitar slingers’ is nothing short of glorious. AXS was able to catch these two genius guitar players at Tucson’s Fox Theatre on May 25 and here are five of the best things about the show.
1) It is Devon Allman, son of the late Gregg Allman
Devon Allman has chosen not to ride on the coat tales of his famous father through the years. Allman has been working as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer and he has set his own path in the music business playing rock, and blues.
His first band was the Honeytribe, followed by the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and now with the Devon Allman Project. He has found time to release solo albums and play in his father’s band as well. He started playing music as a teen even though he did not meet his father until later.
This show was a testament to Allman’s incredible guitar playing and singing that initially seemed very reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band. As the show progressed, Allman displayed his confidence with his voice and sound, as a truly electrifying performer. The show did not ignore his father’s legacy to the delight of the fans.
2) Duane Betts’ shredding is the ‘Betts’
One does not have to wonder who Betts’ namesake is. The 34-year old Duane Betts grew up on the road with his father and the Allman Brothers Band. Betts’ guitar shredding is definitely a chip off the old block. It was easy to close your eyes at the show and imagine it was the older Betts playing. That may be partially due to Betts playing his dad’s signature, ‘Goldtop’ guitar. Betts has toured with Dawes and been a member of Backbone 69 in the past.
Betts opened the show with a 35-minute solo set with slide guitarist John Stachela and Allman’s rhythm section. Even though it was a short set, Betts was able to get that down and dirty vibrato filled with enough power to win over the older crowd.
3) The music flowed seamlessly
This was a set filled with a balanced variety of new and old tunes. The first part of the Allman set was a blend of songs from his Honeytribe, solo, and Royal Southern Brotherhood days. A highlight of the show was their “Midnight Lake Michigan” jam. It was a soaring instrumental with guitar solos by both Allman and Betts. The crowd was on their feet and screaming during many moments. “Melissa” was given a stripped down treatment. All the musicians left the stage to allow Allman to do an acoustic version of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The last 30 minutes of the show was devoted to the timeless music of the Allman Brothers. For a complete set list, please click here.
4) Amazing support band
If you want to look good, you surround yourself with the best musicians that you can find. Allman has mastered that beautifully. Jackson Stokes played some amazing guitar solos and added vocals. Justin Corgan was given several opportunities to show his bass skills and that was a great thing. R. Scott Bryan on percussion and John Lum on drums were impeccable. Third year “The Voice” alumnus, Nicholas David, supplied keyboards and vocals. David was given a solo song with “Lean On Me.” It was great to see and hear his soulful delivery of a song.
5) A new generation playing timeless music
The Allman Brothers provided years of music that crossed the boundaries of jazz, rock, country, and psychedelic rock. The band was ahead of its time and its legacy needs to reach a new, younger generation. The Devon Allman Project certainly can and do carry on the tradition very well. The band still maintains its own identity as highly creative songwriters and musicians. This show is a ‘must’ see experience.
Grab your tickets to The Devon Allman with special guest Duane Betts here.