Devon Allman Looking Ahead to Next Allman Betts Band Album
As they guide the fifth annual Allman Family Revival tour on the road this month, Devon Allman and Duane Betts are also looking ahead to the next project for their Allman Betts Band.
The group, which formed in 2018 and also includes Berry Duane Oakley, the son of the late Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley, is planning to release their third album during the latter part of 2022. Allman (son of Gregg Allman) tells UCR that the troupe is planning to finish the Revival tour on New Year's Eve in Macon, Ga., then take January and February off before reconvening for a band tour at the beginning of March.
"We've been hitting it hard for about three years straight," Allman says, "so we're gonna have a nice 60-day sabbatical and then we're gonna reconvene. Right when pitchers and catchers are reporting (for baseball spring training), we're gonna be reporting and we'll get out there and be back in ABB world instead of Revival world."
Allman is expecting that time off to be productive, however. "If the third record is like a baseball game," says the rocker -- who, in case you haven't guessed, is a massive baseball and St. Louis Cardinals fan -- "we've already rounded first, so I think having January and February off and then the March tour, we'll probably wrap up all the writing and record in May and drop record number three in the fall."
The album will follow its predecessors, 2019's Down to the River and last year's Bless Your Heart.
Meanwhile, Allman and company are enjoying their tour with the Revival, which kicked off Nov. 27 in St. Louis and will play 19 dates. It's an outgrowth of an initial show he staged on Dec. 8, 2017 -- almost seven months after his father's death and on what would have been his 70th birthday -- in San Francisco and has gradually expanded into a full-scale tour following last year's virtual event from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
"This year my agent was like, 'How many do you want to do?'" Allman says. "I was thinking maybe six (shows) would be cool. He called back and said, 'We've got 31 offers'...So I'm like, 'Let's just fit in as many as we can between Thanksgiving and the new year,' so it's a coast to coast tour -- three tour buses and a semi-truck with a 40-foot video wall. It's really great."
In addition to the Allman Betts Band, the tour's core lineup includes Robert Randolph, Lily Hiatt, Cody and Luther Dickinson, Eric Gales, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Wet Willie's Jimmy Hall, Donavon Frankenreiter and Lamar Williams Jr., whose father replaced Oakley in the Allman Brothers Band. Rotating guests, meanwhile, include Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Samantha Fish, G. Love, saxophonist Karl Denson (fresh off the Rolling Stones' No Filter Tour) Ivan Neville, Beth Hard, former Black Crowes/Magpie Salute guitarist Marc Ford, the Meters' George Porter and others.
"It's really evolved from that initial sentiment of play tribute to dad," Allman notes. "That's still there. It's the impetus and the core of the deal, but it's really gone beyond that. It's really creating this musical family of our friends that have been inspired by my dad or were, like, an opening act for the Allman Brothers Band at some point. We're really galvanizing a lot of relationships here with our musical community, our musical family."
That so many musicians want to be involved is a credit to the Allman Brothers' continuing legacy. "It just means so much to me that all these names...made time in their busy careers and schedules to come be part of the family," Allman admits. "And I think that's made this show a really special one."