Now that the personnel in the band was established, it came down to learning the material. Due to the fact that the Allman Brothers Band was classified as “Southern Rock”, most of us thought it was only logical that this was going to be an easy road. You know… with just 3 chord songs and lots of loud guitar solos. As Hawkeye said… “I thought it was Free Bird on steroids.” Hawkeye was mistaken… and very happy to be so.
What a surprise! On the surface, although this material looked simple, it was woven with intricate passages and solos that rivaled the complexity of Coltrane, Miles, and Bird. The percussion style was more rooted in Elvin Jones and Billy Cobham than it was Ringo and Charlie Watts. Although much of the roots are planted in Blues, Country, & R&B, it quickly became apparent that the harmonic structures were more than just a repetition of the same old 12 Bar Patterns. As Kirk West said it, “This isn’t Southern Rock… this is really loud jazz, Man.”
The more we explored these amazing songs, the more evident it became that we had our work cut out for us. It was an exciting challenge and we were up for it. There is nothing more invigorating, then to have one’s assumptions soundly, yet pleasantly, turned on their ears. Don’t believe it? Come out and see.
Midnight Rider “Capturing the Spirit of the Allman Brothers Band”