Gregg Allman has better credentials than just about anybody else to close the inaugural Ramblin’ Man Fair. Revered for his soulful vocals and Hammond B-3 organ work, Allman co-founded the the Allman Brothers Band and has also been a solo artist since 1973. His solo shows in the UK in 2007 and 2011 stand in stark contrast to the recently dissolved Allman Brothers Band.
The Ramblin’ Man Fair is named after a song on the Allman Brothers 1973 album Brothers And Sisters. That must give you a warm feeling?
Maybe ‘ironic’ would be a better word, since I didn’t write that song [it was by guitarist Dickie Betts]. But I’m truly excited to be going back to the UK.
**Your website lists an eight-piece backing band, including a horn section. Is that what you’ll be bringing over? **
Yeah. We added the horn section back in 2014, and they give a real R&B sway to our sound. I love what the horns bring, and we play with a groove that’s a mile wide. This is one of the best line-ups I’ve ever put together. They are a real kick-ass band.
What can you tell us about the set-list?
It will cover my entire solo career, some Allman Brothers tunes I’ve rearranged to fit the sound of my solo band, and a couple of killer cover songs. It’s a real solid set-list with something for everyone.
**And Whipping Post is included, we hope. **
Yeah, it’s one of the Brothers songs that I’ve rearranged. A buddy of mine didn’t think that I could make it work, so I had to prove him wrong.
As a solo artist you’ve played the UK fairly frequently since new millennium, so why have the Allman Brothers stayed away from the UK so resolutely since 1991?
Well, like I said earlier, I love playing over there. And I always wanted the Brothers to go back, but as the years went by it got harder and harder to schedule tours. Mostly it was because there were so many other things going on with everybody’s careers. Finally I just gave up. But that’s why I’ve made it a point to get my solo band over there.
What can you tell us about Live In Macon, a recording of a solo show that’s about to be released?
It’s out in August, and I’m totally pleased with it. I thought it was a good show, but I wasn’t sure until I listened back to it a few weeks later. It passed the test, no doubt. We smoked it that night, man.
Your most recent solo record, 2011’s Low Country Blues, comprised mostly of covers versions. What’s the possibility of you doing an album of all-original material?
Well, I’m hoping to go into the studio later this year down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with Don Was producing. Don has worked with so many great artists, including the Stones and Bonnie Raitt, to name just two. Don was the musical director for the All My Friends tribute they did for me back in 2014, and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
If the Gregg Allman aged 21 was somehow able to meet the version of Gregg aged 67, what do you think they’d make of one another?
The twenty-one-year-old would be amazed that I’m still here and still going strong, and the 67-year old would probably just say: “Don’t do it, boy!”
As a recording artist of fifty years’ standing, a multiple Grammy winner and an inductee of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (and that’s just for starters), what drives you to keep on playing music?
I love what I do and I’m very, very happy right now. Like I’ve said many times before, I play music because it’s my life’s blood. I hope that I can keep on playing right up until the day I die, man.