Dickey Betts Back From Retirement, Planning 2018 Tour
The singer and songwriter has been off the road for about three years. In an interview just three weeks ago, he declared himself retired from the music business. But as of yesterday, his 74th birthday, he's back. Betts plans to play a select string of dates in 2018, though details have not been worked out yet. His longtime manager, David Spero, has called it a "birthday present to himself."
"Everywhere I go, fans keep saying they want me to get out and play again," Betts told the Herald-Tribune. “I think the time is right.” This is an entirely different tune from what he was singing last month, when he told Rolling Stone, "It's a little bit of burnout, a little sour grapes, a little bit like a boxer who gives it up. It's pretty tough, to tell you the truth," he said. "Everyone wishes they could be young forever. But I feel like I did my work, and I'm not gonna do anything that's gonna top what I'm known for. So why don't you just stay home?"
But even Betts' son Duane wasn't buying his dad's retirement. Yesterday, Duane, who's also a guitarist, took to Instagram to wish him a happy birthday, writing "Happy 74th Birthday Dad! So Glad you’ve decided to come out of retirement ... i knew that you would," which was accompanied by a photo of the pair.
Duane, who has previously played in his dad's band, Dickey Betts & Great Southern, has more recently toured with Dawes, and at times collaborated with other children of Allman Brothers Band members, like Gregg Allman's son Devon Allman and Berry Oakley Jr., son of the band's original bassist, among other projects. He'll again be performing with his dad in 2018, sharing lead guitar duties.
As for the rest of the new Dickey Betts Band, Spero says it's still up in the air. “Dickey is talking to some of the guys he has played with,” he said. “We should know in a couple of weeks who will comprise the band.”
Betts said he'll play songs from his solo career, as well as some of the Allman Brothers classics he penned, like "Ramblin' Man," "Jessica," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Blue Sky." He also plans to throw some songs into the set written by Gregg Allman, including "Midnight Rider," "Melissa" and "Whipping Post"
Even though Betts and Allman feuded for years after Betts was fired from the Allman Brothers Band for his drinking, the former bandmates mended their relationship before Allman's death earlier this year. “I think the fans deserve to hear a few of Gregg’s song as well, so I’m pulling out some classics,” Betts said.
“We really gave this a lot of thought as to how and what the show will be,” Spero noted. “Even I can’t wait to see it.”