Monday, April 11, 2011

Album Review: Gregg Allman, Low Country Blues

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned in not so many words that T Bone Burnett could be the hottest producer in music right now.  This gentleman has so many artists who are breaking down the door to work with him.  All one has to do is look at the success of the Raising Sand album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss to see what that particular record did for both careers.  It showed us a new side of Alison Krauss, whom we're used to hearing with her famous back-up band Union Station, while Robert Plant enjoyed the Americana experience so much he followed up with his latest release Band of Joy, foregoing a potential Led Zeppelin reunion in the process.  It makes total and complete sense then, that another legend of American music makes his Americana debut with T Bone Burnett as the producer of his Rounder Records release.

Gregg Allman has had one of the most unique careers in popular North American music.  One of the founding members of the groundbreaking Southern Rock band, The Allman Brothers, Gregg has also had a solo career that seems to have served as more of a side project than something full time.  I say that only because of the small amount of solo albums released versus the amount of albums released by The Allman Brothers Band.  With his first solo album in 14 years, Gregg Allman soars to new heights with the recent release of Low Country Blues.  

As a subscriber to XM radio in Canada, I have the great fortune to hear some excellent material on the Outlaw Country channel, a channel which is devoted to the alt-country/Americana genre.  It is on this channel that I heard the first tracks that were released from Low Country Blues.  Recognizing the very distinct vocals of Gregg Allman, my interest piqued immediately.  The first tracks to appear on this particular station were the fantastic "Floating Bridge" and "Little by Little."  My first thoughts were, "Wow ... I can't wait until this album comes out.  Gregg Allman has never sounded better."  

Released in January of this year, Gregg Allman truly storms back with some of the strongest material of his career.  This record is reminiscent of early Allman Brothers material, yet has a freshness that makes this record stand out from all the new material that's out there today.  Covering such sounds of dirty-southern rock and blues with the standout track "Little by Little", to a little bit of a country sound with "Please Accept My Love", to hardcore blues with "Blind Man", Gregg Allman has pieced together one of the truly great albums of 2011.   In this writer's opinion, the finest track on the album is "I Believe I'll Go Back Home."   This tune has elements of blues, southern swamp music and country bluegrass all mixed together to produce one of the finest tracks that will come out this year.  This album will have you tapping your fingers, your toes and whatever else you can tap.  It is one of the finest pieces of material on the market today.  Score another big win for T Bone Burnett as he revitalizes the career of another music legend.  Welcome to Americana Mr. Allman, it's great to have you here.

Click here to listen to Low Country Blues in its entirety on the Rolling Stone magazine web site.