By Brian Ives
This past January 10, an impressive lineup of artists, crossing genres and generations, assembled at Atlanta’s Fox Theater to pay tribute to Allman Brothers Band frontman and namesake Gregg Allman.
The lineup included his bandmates in the Allmans — guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, who announced shortly after that show that they’d be leaving the band at year’s end — as well as his peers (Jackson Browne, Dr. John), his son (Devon Allman) and his disciples from the jam-band world (Widespread Panic). It also included artists from the country music world (Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, Eric Church), plus one of his influences (Sam Moore from legendary ’60s soul duo Sam & Dave). A live album and concert film from the event, called All My Friends will be out on May 6.
The show had many highlights, and one of them was Church’s performance. The country superstar took on the lead track from 1972’s Eat A Peach, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” as well as “Win, Lose or Draw,” the title track from the band’s 1975 LP. Watch Church’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” below.
“The great thing that Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers and a lot of people from that era did best is they let the music be the music,” Church said. “They didn’t try to manufacture it, they let the creativity happen.”
“He tore that up,” Allman told Radio.com about Church’s performance, during a phone conversation last week. “But please print this: it’s hard to say who did the best job of what. They were all so wonderful.”
During Radio.com‘s conversation with Allman last week, he also dropped the announcement that the Allmans, are not, in fact, breaking up (as had been previously believed by the band’s fans). Allman was calling from the Wanee Music Festival in Florida, but he was still moved when recalling the concert in his honor three months back.
“The first thing that came to my mind,” during the show, Allman recalls, was: “‘Gregory. Do. Not. Cry. Do not start crying!’ If you watch the part with me and Jackson [Browne], we did ‘These Days’ and ‘Melissa,’ and if you look at him during the second verse of ‘Melissa,’ and he was singing and he had a huge f***in’ crocodile tear out of the outside of his eye and I was thinkin’, ‘Don’t start, you’ll get me goin’!’ And I just happened to look down at the first three or four rows, they were all crying.”
Another big moment for him was having Sam Moore on the lineup. “He sang ‘Please Call Home’ [from 1970’s Idlewild South] man, and oh my god. Oh my god! As he walked on the stage, I looked over and said, ‘Well, now we’re about to get a lesson in how to sing that song right.’ Sure enough! He said, “I threw a little gospel in there, I hope you don’t mind!”
“To have Sam, from Sam & Dave, to even have him come, just to attend… if he just came to watch the show, I would have been so elated, man,” Allman continued. “It also reaffirms something to me that is so, so valuable to me. That man is 84 years old, and he’s just got chops! Chops on top of chops! And he sounds just as good as he did when he sang ‘Hold On! I’m Comin’!’ If, God willing, I make it to that age, I hope I can still sing and play.”
And with a clear bill of health, after missing a few of the Allmans’ shows at the Beacon Theatre last month, it looks like the idea of Allman continuing to perform as an octogenarian is a real possibility.