A modern day super group of sorts, the band is comprised of some prodigious lineage. Devon Allman (son of Gregg), Duane Betts (son of Dickey) and Berry Oakley Jr. (Berry’s son). With that, some obvious comparisons and expectations are bound to occur. While perhaps unavoidable, such shortsightedness doesn’t paint the whole picture of this band. All three of these gentlemen are established musicians in their own right, and ones that have respected careers they’ve built decidedly on their own. With that said, they’re a band that is still in their early stages and while they undoubtedly have some natural chemistry, it’s still all coming together. So what better way to work it out than to hit the road, and see how things shake out?
Taking the stage, the band wisely established themselves with a pair of tracks from the debut album. “All Night” and “Melodies Are Memories” show tremendous potential for the upcoming album. Despite this, it seemed that the band and audience were still in the stages of figuring each other out, with there being a bit of hesitancy coming from both. Whatever was causing it seemed to melt away as Duane Betts launched into the classic “Blue Sky,” which was followed by Devon’s take on “Ain’t Wastin Time No More.” Following the Allman Brothers Band cue of including a more stripped down acoustic portion in their set, Devon delivered my personal highlight of the evening, his version of his dad’s “Multi-Colored Lady.” Throughout the evening’s performance the band utilized projected visuals, but during this song they were particularly stunning and effective.
As the set wound down, the band only fired up the crowd more. A fiery “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” proceeded the set closing new song and title track, “Down To The River.” But the boys weren’t done just yet. With opener J.D. Simo joining them, the band launched into a version of “Dreams” for the ages. I would be doing a great disservice if I didn’t mention how outstanding the band is as a whole. Comprised of Johnny Stachela on guitar, keyboardist John Ginty and drummers John Lum and R. Scott Bryan, they each got their chance to shine, and deservedly so. Allman Betts Band is currently on the road with an extensive tour schedule. Their new album releases via BMG on June 28. Find out all about this and more by visiting their webpage here: http://allmanbettsband.com/
Blues guitar chameleon J.D. Simo opened the evening’s festivities and most certainly expanded his fan base here in OKC once again. This was my second opportunity to see Simo, and when I say chameleon, I’m referring to his ability to tailor his approach to the surroundings. His previous stop here was opening for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. That performance saw a more “Texas” styled rendering of blues, while this evening was of a more exploratory nature. Regardless, Simo plays like it just might be the last time he plays a guitar. It’s as passionate and honest a performance as you’ll find and he’s an artist I will always look forward to seeing. Joining him in his newest incarnation of a blues power trio is longtime drummer Adam Abrashoff and bassist Andraleia Buch. JD Simo has just released his newest album, “Off At 11” and I highly recommend checking it out. You can get all your information here: https://www.simo.fm/