By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The children of three members of hugely influential Southern rock pioneers the Allman Brothers will come together at the Fillmore in San Francisco Friday with a host of other luminaries as part of the debut performance of the newly formed Devon Allman Project.
Founded by Gregg and Duane Allman in 1969, the Allman Brothers mixed blues, jazz, and psychedelic rock with extended improvisation to create an influential sound powered by tandem drummers, the dueling guitars of Duane and second six-string great Dickey Betts and Gregg’s gruff, soulful vocals. Despite the early death of Duane in a motorcycle accident in 1971 after Live at the Fillmore East confirmed the band’s status as one of the great concert acts of the era and the death of bassist Berry Oakley in a similar crash a year later, the Allman Brothers would help launch the rise of ’70s Southern rock disciples like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker band and Wet Willie as well as laying the groundwork for countless jambands who later looked to the Allmans and the Grateful Dead as major sources of inspiration.
Already an established blues-rock guitarist and singer/songwriter, Gregg’s son Devon has been working professionally since the early ’90s, fronting the band Honeytribe, participating in the blues supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood with notables Cyril Nevil (vocals) and Yonrico Scott as well as recording several solo albums. While his guitar playing definitely nods to his famed uncle’s fiery style, it’s his vocal delivery that bears the undeniable genetic stamp of his father.
His new six-piece Devon Allman Project will include keyboard player R. Scott Bryan (who has played in Sheryl Crow’s band), onetime contestant on ‘The Voice’ Nicolas David, but perhaps more notable for the group’s future plans after this debut performance at the Fillmore is that special guest Duane Betts (son of original Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey) will be joining the new sextet on a tour set for next year.
The show at the Fillmore on Friday also coincides with what would have been the 70th birthday of Gregg Allman. To mark the occasion, Devon and Duane and additional performers will spend a portion of the evening paying tribute to the music Gregg made with the Allman Brothers, including bassist/guitarist Berry Oakley Jr. and Devon’s half sister and singer for heavy alternative band Picture Me Broken, Brooklyn Allman.
But those four Allman Brothers children are just a few of the guests scheduled to appear at the Fillmore. The line-up also includes Philly blues/funk favorite G. Love, “sacred steel” guitar virtuoso and bandleader Robert Randolph, North Mississippi Allstar members Luther and Cody Dickinson, keyboard legend Bobby Whitlock — who was a member of Delaney and Bonnie and Eric Clapton’s short-lived group with Duane Allman, Derek and the Dominoes — Wet Willie frontman and Jeff Beck singer Jimmy Hall, longtime musical director/keyboardist for the Gregg Allman Band Pete Levin, Alex Orbison (the son of famed ’50s troubadour Roy Orbison) and singer Samantha Fish.
The Devon Allman Project with Special Guests
Friday, December 8, 8 p.m. $35