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The Allman Betts Band: Bless Your Heart

One year after their very solid debut album, The Allman Betts Band return with their second platter of modern, soulful Southern Rock, Bless Your Heart. No sophomore slump to be found here, as this latest release sees the band more confident and comfortable in their own skin, a year of touring under their belt and their songwriting skills in top notch form. Led by three children of Allman Brothers Band legends Gregg Allman, Dickie Betts, and Berry Oakley, the band features Devon Allman (vocals, guitars), Duane Betts (vocals, guitars), and Berry Duane Oakley (bass, vocals, piano) along with Johnny Stachela (slide guitar), R. Scott Bryan (drums, percussion), John Lum (drums), and John Ginty (keyboards). Making an appearance on the album is Wet Willy legend Jimmy Hall on harmonica and Art Edmaiston on saxophone, along with a few guest backing vocalists. Bless Your Heart contains 13 new songs, and its release timed perfectly for summer of 2020...these songs are just the type of thing we need at this time of year.

While the debut showed plenty of promise, all those expectations have fully been realized here on Bless Your Heart. "Pale Horse Rider" kicks things off in grand fashion, a song that has the potential to be a Southern Rock anthem for the ages, with haunting Allman vocals and all three axe slingers trading off tasty solos, while "Carolina Song" meshes vintage Marshall Tucker Band class with modern Zac Brown Band country pop sensibility, an easy choice for a potential hit single. Duane takes over the vocals on "King Crawler" and "Ashes of My Love", both more rootsy rockers but still containing some memorable hooks and tasty playing, his voice sounding very close to his father Dickie. For the 12-minute instrumental "Savannah's Dream", the band channel their parents glory days, as this could be the long lost sibling to "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" or "Pegasus", filled with gorgeous lead guitar lines, electric piano, savage slide guitar, and layers of intricate drumming. It's as if 1970 is happening all over again. "Airboats & Cocaine" is a hard rocking number with honky tonk piano, gritty riffs and searing slide guitar, Devon & Duane both sharing the lead vocal quite expertly, while both "Southern Rain" and "Magnolia Road" contain plenty classic Allman Brothers Band references and are just splendid 'feel good' songs with great choruses and superb guitar solos. Stachela's slide guitar shines brightly alongside Ginty's Hammond organ on the majestic "Should We Ever Part", while Oakley takes the lead vocal on the lengthy "The Doctor's Daughter", a moody, dreamy rocker that has as much ABB vibe as it does Pink Floyd, with tender slide from Stachela, acoustic guitars and piano. Berry's vocals are outstanding here, and I'd argue the band should utilize his voice more on future albums. Two shorter, more moody roots rockers conclude the album, "Much Obliged" and "Congratulations", the latter featuring some great Devon vocals and grandiose piano courtesy of Ginty.

Open up the CD or LP and you get a fantastic breakdown of each song, who wrote it, who sang on it, who played what on it, which is great to see considering you have a band here with seven members, three of whom are guitar players. All these songs are memorable and quite enjoyable, and proof that Southern Rock is alive and well in 2020.

Track Listing

  1. Pale Horse Rider
  2. Carolina Song
  3. King Crawler
  4. Ashes of My Lovers
  5. Savannah’s Dream
  6. Airboats & Cocaine
  7. Southern Rain
  8. Rivers Run
  9. Magnolia Road
  10. Should We Ever Part
  11. The Doctor’s Daughter
  12. Much Obliged
  13. Congratulations

Added: September 27th 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 705
Language: english

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