Saturday, April 30, 2011

SunFest Day 3: Sound Mix Abandons Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman deserved better.

The sound mix for Allman's Friday Night SunFest show was as muddy as the Delta. And, at times, Allman's distinctive vocals were buried so far down in the mix that they only could be found with a Geiger counter.

Once again, Gregg Allman deserved better. And so did the audience.

The venerable bluesman is touring to support his first new album in more than a decade, Low Country Blues. If you don't have this album, stop right now and buy it. It is required music.

Allman and his six-piece band covered songs from the Allman Brothers, his past solo work the latest album during the 80-minute set. The band started ragged with the aforementioned sound mixing debacle and with its own internal struggles with playing together on Allman's latest work. Halfway through the set, the band found its footing and ended the show with a rousing version of "Statesboro Blues." Percussionist Floyd Miles spelled Allman of his vocal duties for two funky Chicago blues tunes, which were one of the highlights of the set.

Recovering from his liver transplant from last June, Allman was playing his seventh show in the past 10 days and he was showing his 63 years. Allman has just started a younger man's tour for the next five months. The tour will make stops at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo and the European festival circuit. This Sunday, the band will be in Memphis for the Beale Street Blues Festival.

With that wonderfully whiskey baritone, Allman is all bluesman. I only hope to hear him again when sound mix arises to the quality of the performer.

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