Whether she wants to admit it or not, the Allman Betts Band is becoming the legitimate successor to the Allman Brothers Band. On their second longplayer "Bless Your Heart", they have expanded their musical spectrum with some Americana sounds. As satisfied as frontman Devon Allman is with this, he admits in an interview that his personal taste in music goes far beyond that.
"When was the last time we actually talked face to face," the Southerner begins the telephone call - an introductory sentence that unfortunately is almost the rule in Corona times. The last time I had met Devon Allman and Duane Betts was in the backstage room of a Berlin club. "Oh yes, you were even drunker than us then and in the first sentence you claimed that you wouldn't ask us about our fathers' band, but in fact almost every question was about the Allman Brothers Band. But at least you didn't have to perform after the interview. I don't think we were very good that night." This time, I promise him it's really gonna be mostly about the Allman Betts Band. After all, the new album "Bless Your Heart" clearly shows that the troupe has moved on after their outstanding debut "Down To The River".
eclipsed: Your group is called Allman Betts Band. How important are the other members? [In addition to Gregg Allman's son Devon (guitar, vocals) and Dickey Betts' son Duane (guitar, vocals), the band consists of Berry Oakley's son Berry Duane Oakley (bass, vocals), Johnny Stachela (guitar, vocals), R. Scott Bryan (percussion, vocals), John Lum (drums) and John Ginty (keyboards), note]
Devon Allman: Of course the names of Duane and me are more familiar than the others and it was our idea to form this band. We are also the song suppliers together with Stoll Vaughan. From there one can justify the name already. On the other hand, it shouldn't be a project like I tried out with Duane before, but a real band, and especially on the new album you can really hear this band as a unit in my opinion. So every single member is important. If someone would be missing, it would sound different. That's exactly what feels so good right now, it's a band, moreover a band that gets along well off stage. This is of course a snapshot, but one that I really enjoy.
eclipsed: You already brought it up: The new album differs from the debut not only in nuances.
Allman: When we recorded the debut it was the first time ever that we played together as a band. And with our kind of music there's really a band in one room and they're recording the song completely. If it doesn't work out right away, there's just another run-through. There's no piecing anything together. Only the vocals and the solos are recorded again afterwards. In retrospect I still think it's good that we recorded "Down To The River" as the first statement of the band. After that we went on tour a lot and grew together more and more musically and personally. I think you can hear that in "Bless Your Heart". We were able to expand our musical repertoire, and everyone knew instinctively what they could and should do and how. On the whole, the recordings were completed very quickly. That was fun.
eclipsed: The spectrum of your music you now refer to as the "United States of Americana". Can you now be fully absorbed in it or can you find everything from Devon Allman in it?
Allman: No, just a small, but important part of my musical taste. First of all, a band is always a compromise, but when a band works out so well, sometimes something emerges that you can't think of on your own while composing, it develops something like a life of its own, and in the best case it sounds independent, like an original.