Music review: Allman Betts Band - ‘Down to the River’

You know you are getting old when you discover the sons of artists you listened to in the 1970s are now releasing a new album.

I was just a youngster when I discovered my oldest brother’s record collection. He introduced me to the stirring sounds of artists like Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Little Feat, Poco, Elvin Bishop, Santana and Crosby, Stills and Nash

His copies of 1972’s “Eat a Peach” and 1973’s “Brothers and Sisters” would ignite my passion for the Allman Brothers Band, led by brothers Gregg and Duane Allman.

Some 47 years later, Devon Allman (Gregg’s son) and Duane Betts (son of Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts) carry on their fathers’ legacy with the formation of the Allman Betts Band. The group also features Berry Duane Oakley, the son of the late Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley.

The album includes special guests appearances by former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist Chuck Leavell and former Gregg Allman Band Hammond Organ musician Peter Levin.

Recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, “Down to the River” is the band’s debut effort and contains a hefty dose of Southern rock.

The opening guitar riff of the lead single “All Night” delivers a warning shot that signals the band is ready to forge a new musical reputation all its own.

“Shinin’” quickly captures a true Allman Brothers Band tone with Betts’ laid-back vocals and melodic guitar grooves spotlighted

on this feel-good number.

The title track possesses a bluesy vibe and is reminiscent of a Robert Cray offering.

Clocking in at nearly nine minutes, “Autumn Breeze” demonstrates the pure beauty of a quality guitar-driven jam and is the set’s standout moment.

Other album gems include the sentimental tracks “Good Ol’ Days” and “Melodies Are Memories.” I can’t help but hear these songs and find myself making comparisons to the 1970 Allman Brothers Band sophomore release “Idlewild South.”

“I got my own way of living/But everything is done/With a Southern accent/Where I come from.” These lyrics sum up the feel of the album as the band performs a soulful cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents.”

“Down to the River” is a wonderful example of everything old becoming new again.

Clint Rhodes is the Herald-Standard music reviewer. He can be reached at clinton43@me.com.

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