Gregg Allman excited for weekend in New England

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The Allman Brothers Band are calling it quits at the end of the year, but frontman Gregg Allman has no plans on slowing down. And despite no plans for the band to play locally, the legendary frontman is still giving New Englanders something to excited about with a series of solo shows this weekend.

2014 got off to a fantastic start for Allman. In January, an all-star cast of musicians came together to pay tribute Allman with a performance Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre. The once-in-a-lifetime show, which featured a wide range of stars from Jacksone Brown to Eric Church to Widespread Panic and many more, was captured live on the CD/DVD release, All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs & Voice Of Gregg Allman.

The past few months have not been as kind to Allman. In March, he came down with bronchitis and the band were forced to postpone the remainder of their Beacon Theatre residency series. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who has Hepatitis C and had to have a liver transplant in 2010, was again forced to cancel a series of solo shows last month due to health concerns.

Having returned to full-strength, Allman is now back on the road. Ahead of the band’s own Peach Music Festival in Pennsylvanian, he’ll hit New England for a series of solo shows this weekend. Allman’s weekend plans include a pair of concerts in Massachusetts (Hyannis on Friday, Lowell on Saturday) and one in Rhode Island (Newport on Sunday). With that in mind, we recently caught up with the “Ramblin’ Man” via email to discuss the shows, a potential new solo album, his love for New England and more.

Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): How is the tour going thus far?

Gregg Allman (GA): Going great man, couldn’t be happier. I’ve put together a kick-ass band, which has a nice mix of veterans and newer folks. The guys who have been with me for awhile are Scott Sharrard on guitar, Steve Potts on drums and Jay Collins on sax, who has been joined by Dennis Marion and Art Edmaiston to give us a killer horn section. Those three makes things sway. We’ve also added Ron Johnson on bass, Peter Levin on keyboards, and Marc Quinones has come over from the Allman Brothers to play percussion. We’ve got great chemistry, and I know the fans are going to enjoy the show.

BMS: After many decades on the road, do you still find yourself enjoying the live performances as much as you used to?

GA: Maybe more, because 40 years of fan devotion is something to see, man. When three generations of a family come to a show together, that means the world to me and it makes me want to deliver the best show possible. It’s great motivation, no doubt about it.

BMS: You’re also on the road with ABB drummer Jaimoe, what’s it like having him open the shows for you?

GA: Jaimoe is a dear, dear friend of mine, and no one loves playing music more than he does. Jaimoe was the first person my brother asked to join his band, and there’s a reason for that. His band is tremendous – they have a groove a mile wide, and Junior Mack is a hellava guitar player. I love Jaimoe like I loved my brother. He is a sweet and gentle man.

BMS: Earlier this year, an all-star cast came together to pay tribute to you in Atlanta. The show was captured on the All My Friends CD/DVD. It was such an amazing night, what were some of the most special moments for you?

GA: The whole night was a highlight! It was one of the high points of my career, man. If I had to pick out a few moments, I would say that watching Sam Moore just kill it on “Please Call Home” was something else; it gave me goosebumps. I got real emotional when I did “These Days” and “Melissa” with Jackson Browne. At one point Jackson actually had a tear in his eye, and I was like, “Not now, man!” I’ll never forget that show.

BMS: It’s been a few years since the release of Low Country Blues, do you have any plans for a new solo release? If so, is there any specific direction you see it going?

GA: I’ve been asked that a lot lately, and there is a project I have in mind. I want to do an album made up of nothing but my songs. My goal is to see the credits read, “All compositions by Gregory L. Allman,” and I hope to do that in the near future.

BMS: You’ve got a handful of shows in New England coming up. With so much history through the years, what are some of your favorite memories from playing in this area?

GA: Oh man, there are so many great memories. Going back to the old days, I remember playing a club called the Tea Party, and we had to lug my Hammond B-3 up this flight of stairs; damned near killed us, man. We had absolutely no money, and one time we crashed in this old tenement building on Kempton Street, that was rough, man. I have to say that the owner of the Tea Party, Don Law, was great to us. Don always helped us out any way he could. I also remember playing free shows in Boston Common, and in more recent times, we’ve had some killer gigs out at Great Woods. I’ve got a real history with New England.

BMS: What can fans expect at the upcoming shows?

GA: People can expect to have nothing but a good ole’ time, listening to some of their favorite songs. I want them to dance and sing and forget about their problems for a few hours. If they can leave with smiles on their faces and a little joy in their hearts, then I’ve done my job, brother.

Gregg Allman will perform sold out shows at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis on Friday, August 8 and Boarding House Park in Lowell as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series on Saturday, August 9. He’ll also perform at the Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday, August 10. Tickets for the show, which range in price from $19.50 to $59.50, are available through Ticketmaster.

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