Wanee Artist Spotlight: The Allman Brothers
Walk along the river, sweet lullaby. It just keeps on flowing… it don’t worry ’bout where it’s going. No, no. The G.A.R.T. is kind of like that river. I’m hittin’ the road and I’m not too worried about where I’m going. I do however know one of my early stops: Wanee Music Festival in Live Oak, FL. I’m pointing my compass south to enjoy a weekend full of great music from a jam-packed lineup with the Allman Brothers Band sitting atop as a co-headliner. Two nights of awesome blues-rock jams from pioneers of the live music scene I have grown to love. Although I’ve seen ABB many times, the excitement level and anticipation of this magical musical weekend has not diminished from my 1st show. The ABB are always a good time waiting to happen. You just have to bring an open ear and your dancing shoes.
Back where it all began– well, almost. While most people associate the ABB with the Macon, Georgia area, they actually formed not far from Wanee’s location in Jacksonville, FL back in 1969. The band gets its name from brothers Duane and Gregg Allman, who formed the band that would go on to create its own sub-genre of music and dominate the road for decades to come, though unfortunately not without some grave losses along the way. The sheer awe-inspiring greatness of Duane Allman was taken from us all too early when he passed away after a motorcycle accident in 1971. A true axe-genius supernova who burned brightly before his flame was suddenly extinguished. Things looked grim for the band and only got worse when original bassist Berry Oakley died a year later. A motorcycle accident again cut down a member of this rock and roll giant just as it was breaking through. Despite having no one left to run with, the band regrouped and pushed forward. I’m so thankful that the ABB persevered and went on to create songs that have become engrained in the soundtrack of my life.
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can. I’d say the ABB have done alright for themselves over the years. A bushel of gold and platinum albums, a well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and a collection of songs that will rock the souls of generations and generations of fans for years to come. The band’s current formation includes Gregg Allman on keys, drummers Butch Trucks, Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Marc Quixones, Oteil Burbridge slapping da bass and Derek Trucks and/or Warren Haynes on guitar. With both Derek and Warren in attendance with their solo projects, I can only dream about the possible collaborations to overtake the Wanee stages. And really that’s what a great music festival is all about. Super talented musicians coming together to create musical masterpieces that live on in your memory even after the momentary bliss fades away. This is why I go to shows and why people continue to migrate to stellar music festivals such as Wanee.
Gotta let your soul shine, shine to the break of day. Whether you’ve been rocking all day, floating down the Suwannee river or hucking some discs at the on-site disc golf course, when the night breaks and sun sets you’d better be making your way to the stage for the ABB set. Classic heavy hitters like One Way Out, Statesboro Blues and In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed can often be found early in the show to get the fans groovin’. Mixed among the greatest hits train are blues rock hidden gems like I Walk On Gilded Splinters and It’s Not My Cross To Bear. You can close your eyes and feel the pain that inspired some of these blues ballads. Just as you’re thinking of grabbing another beer to drown these feelings, the ABB will pick you up with an inspirational Soulshine. With the Wanee lineup loaded with some classic rock icons, there will be ample opportunity to dive into fantastic renditions of songs from their extensive cover catalog as well as paving the road for some new favorites. A scorching Whipping Post to bring it all together and send us all happily into the night. Sound like fun? It sure does to me! See you at Wanee.