Big Hassle Media
ROUNDER TO RELEASE GREGG ALLMAN’S
FINAL STUDIO ALBUM, SOUTHERN BLOOD, SEPTEMBER 8TH
DON WAS-PRODUCED COLLECTION SERVES AS REMARKABLE FAREWELL
FOR GROUNDBREAKING ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAMER
LEGENDARY ARTIST’S LAST RECORDING FEATURES ONE ORIGINAL AND SONGS BY
BOB DYLAN, JACKSON BROWNE, JERRY GARCIA, WILLIE DIXON
NPR PREMIERES “MY ONLY TRUE FRIEND”
PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW
LIMITED-EDITION NUMBERED DOUBLE-SIDED PICTURE DISC AVAILABLE AUGUST 4TH
(New York, NY) Rounder Records has announced the release date for Gregg Allman’s final studio album. SOUTHERN BLOOD arrives everywhere on Friday, September 8th. NPR premiered the album’s first song, “My Only True Friend” today.
SOUTHERN BLOOD will be available for pre-order beginning today July 26. A special and unique part of the deluxe package and the first run of the vinyl will be the inclusion of a painting that Allman and his daughter Layla commissioned from visual artist Vincent Castiglia. The beautiful portrait Castiglia painted was made with Gregg’s actual blood in the paint. The process served as inspiration for the album title. On August 4th, a limited edition numbered double-sided picture disc will be available at local record shops or with pre-orders of the album via greggallman.com.
SOUTHERN BLOOD serves as a remarkable final testament from an artist whose contributions have truly shaped rock & roll throughout the past four decades. Allman’s first all-new recording since 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated solo landmark, LOW COUNTRY BLUES, the album is among the most uniquely personal of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s career, an emotionally expansive collection of songs written by friends and favorite artists including Jackson Browne, Willie Dixon, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Lowell George and Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn, meant to serve as a salutary farewell to his legion of devoted fans and admirers. Allman collaborated on his closing project with manager and dear friend Michael Lehman and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Don Was, a longtime acquaintance and staunch supporter committed to helping the rock icon actualize his very specific aspirations.
“As his producer, I was dedicated to helping Gregg crystallize his vision for the record and to help make sure that this vision made it to the tape,” says Was. “He was a musical hero of mine and, in later years, had become a good friend. The gravitas of this particular situation was not lost on me. Gregg was a sweet, humble man with a good heart and good intentions and it was a great honor to help him put his musical affairs in order and say a proper farewell.”
Allman, well aware his time was short, approached the project with an unambiguously realistic agenda. High atop his list of goals was to capture the sound of the ultimate Gregg Allman Band in full flight, considering them the tightest knit combo of all the line-ups that had backed him over his 40+ year solo career. Despite his ongoing health issues, the Gregg Allman Band had picked up right where the Allman Brothers Band left off in 2015, spending nearly two years on the road with tour highlights including the now-annual Allman-curated Laid Back Festival. 2015’s two disc CD/DVD set, BACK TO MACON GA, immortalized Allman and his eight-member band’s floor-shaking live power but their leader was determined to see what the group could do within the confines of the studio.
“Gregg was very excited to be in the studio,” says Lehman. “He was especially thrilled to be recording this studio album with his solo band – he was so proud of them and loved the sound that they produced together. Gregg felt close to every single one of them. The Gregg Allman Band was like a family or a well oiled machine, always knowing what the other band members were thinking and doing.”
“The Gregg Allman Band enabled him to realize a sound that he’d been hearing in his head for decades but was previously unable to achieve. We talked a lot about his first solo LP, LAID BACK – what would that type of album sound like in the modern era played by these cats and fronted by an older and wiser Gregg Allman?”
A further key to Allman’s vision for SOUTHERN BLOOD was his decision to record at the world-renowned FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. Alongside its own fabled history, the legendary studio occupied a momentous place in Allman’s personal back pages.
“A constant discussion during all of my nearly 15 years working with Gregg was his desire to return to Muscle Shoals,” Lehman says. “He always would talk about how he needed to get back to FAME Studios to bring him full circle.”
“Muscle Shoals is hallowed musical ground,” says Was. “FAME was the place where Gregg’s brother Duane first started making waves in the music world and where the earliest seeds of The Allman Brothers Band were sown in a back room during their first, seminal rehearsals. Duane’s presence is still ubiquitous in that building. Recording there was Gregg’s way of making his spirit a part of this album, in the same way that his spirit continued to be part of Gregg’s life.”
Brother Duane’s presence courses through SOUTHERN BLOOD, from Jackson Browne’s “Song For Adam” – the final verse of which Was says reminded Gregg of his older brother’s premature passing – to the funk-fried “Blind Bats and Swamp Rats,” originally found on the Duane-produced TON-TON MACOUTE!, a lost classic from left-handed blues guitarist Johnny Jenkins. Allman, Was, and Lehman spent significant time plotting out SOUTHERN BLOOD, carefully selecting material that would capture the moment and simultaneously serve as a synopsis of an undeniably extraordinary life. Songs like Bob Dylan’s haunting “Going, Going Gone” and Tim Buckley’s immortal “Once I Was” allowed Allman a chance to look back over his time on Earth while also pondering the journey that lay ahead.
“Gregg, Don and I listened to a lot of material,” Lehman says. “We went back and forth with each other to ultimately come up with songs that Gregg felt reflected his mood, where he was presently in life both on a personal level and professional level, as well as what would be on his fans’ minds later on.”
Allman was of course a gifted and evocative tunesmith in his own right, the award-winning author of such modern standards as “Midnight Rider,” “It’s Not My Cross To Bear,” “Dreams,” and “Whipping Post.” SOUTHERN BLOOD is highlighted by one of the most candid tracks of his long songwriting career, “My Only True Friend,” co-written with Gregg Allman Band guitarist/musical director Scott Sharrard.
“‘My Only True Friend’ was Gregg’s attempt to contextualize the course of his life,” says Was. “The man that his fans saw performing onstage was the essential Gregg Allman – he was whole and truly satisfied when he was up there playing music. The trials and troubles he faced in life were mostly the result of not knowing what to do with himself in between shows. In this song, he’s addressing a woman and explaining that, although he loves her and doesn’t want to face living his life alone, being away on the road and performing every night is his lifeblood. If you understand this about Gregg Allman, every other aspect of his life makes complete sense.”
Sharrard – who also contributes his own show-stopping “Love Like Kerosene” – led the Gregg Allman Band through two weeks of recording, with all nine musicians playing together in the same room and Allman singing live vocals. Despite the undeniable “overtones of finality,” the sessions proved both relaxed and fun for all involved. Though Allman’s diminishing stamina caused the daily sessions to be shortened, he filled each moment in-studio with every ounce of signature Gregg fire and enthusiasm — an intensity that prevailed to the very last note.
“Gregg was not feeling great,” Lehman says, “but being a true professional, he gave it his all as usual. He hit the studio every day for about four or five hours and would typically nail one or two of the songs.”
“Gregg was thrilled that the sound in his head was manifesting itself on the tape,” Was says. “He didn’t have all the lungpower of his younger self, but we felt that these raw, weathered performances were honest and compelling. We all agreed to leave them as they were on the day they were recorded. In the spirit of LAID BACK, Gregg wanted to hear things like background harmony vocals and reverb on his voice but this album is essentially a documentary of our two weeks in the studio.
“Even though I’d known Gregg for a while, I was still blown away to be there with him and to witness his genius up close. I can still remember being swept away by his performances. He was so deeply engaged with the music! Working closely with him reinforced and further enhanced my view that Gregg Allman was one of the greatest artists of this or any time.”
Rich with emotional texture, historical connectivity, and purity of performance, SOUTHERN BLOOD would be a landmark Gregg Allman record under any circumstance, its powerful subject matter and passionate presentation as emblematic an expression of his distinctive art as any prior work in the Allman canon. Though his loss leaves a vast musical space that can never truly be filled, SOUTHERN BLOOD stands tall as a remarkable valedictory and memorial to a true giant of American music, now and forever.
About GREGG ALLMAN:
Gregg Allman was undoubtedly among rock and roll’s greatest and most significant artists, his soul-fired and still utterly distinctive voice one of the defining sounds in all of American music. From his founding role in the one and only Allman Brothers Band to his long and storied solo career, Allman consistently proved himself to be an iconic singer/songwriter and exceptional practitioner of the American blues tradition. Allman accrued a remarkable list of honors over his five decade career, including the ABB’s 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 54th Annual GRAMMY® Awards. Allman detailed his brilliant career in 2012’s acclaimed memoir, My Cross To Bear. Now available in both hardcover and paperback, the New York Times bestseller chronicles an astonishing life and creative journey burdened by unimaginable loss, alcohol and drug addiction, told with clear-eyed wisdom and sharp hindsight.
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STREET DATE: SEPTEMBER 8, 2017
1. My Only True Friend (Gregg Allman-Scott Sharrard)
2. Once I Was (Tim Buckley-Larry Beckett)
3. Going Going Gone (Bob Dylan)
4. Black Muddy River (Jerome J. Garcia-Robert C. Hunter)
5. I Love the Life I Live (Willie Dixon)
6. Willin’ (Lowell George)
7. Blind Bats and Swamp Rats (Jack Avery)
8. Out of Left Field (Dewey Lindon Oldham Jr.-Dan Penn)
9. Love Like Kerosene (Scot Sharrard)
10. Song for Adam featuring Jackson Browne (Jackson Browne)
Southern Blood is available in the following configurations:
*Deluxe CD with 2 extra tracks & bonus DVD
*Limited Edition First Run LP featuring hardwood colored
heavyweight vinyl and exclusive lithograph
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Last night in D.C.: National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Honored Rock Icon Gregg Allman with Memorial Advocacy Award at NVHR 15th Anniversary Event
“Gregg recognized an awareness gap, particularly among baby boomers who are infected with hepatitis C and either don’t realize they have the virus or just are not seeking treatment,” said Lehman. “He sought to remove the stigma with the message that it doesn’t matter how you contract hepatitis C – it only matters that you find it and treat it. While I wish Gregg were here to receive the award himself, I’m honored to accept it on his behalf and to have the opportunity to support NVHR for all its work over the past 15 years to stem the tide of this devastating disease.”
After going public with his battle with hepatitis C, Allman headlined Merck and the American Liver Foundation’s “Tune In to Hep C Campaign” to raise awareness and urge baby boomers living with the disease to do something about it. As part of Tune In to Hep C, The Allman Brothers Band held a hepatitis C fundraiser and awareness concert before a packed house at the Beacon Theater in New York. The concert raised $250,000 to benefit NVHR and the American Liver Foundation for education and awareness efforts. The funds were critical, given the extreme lack of resources in the hepatitis community.
GREGG ALLMAN’S LIFE AND LEGACY TO BE HONORED
WITH UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA HALFTIME CELEBRATION
EMOTIONAL TRIBUTE SET FOR SATURDAY’S SEC FOOTBALL GAME
BETWEEN GEORGIA BULLDOGS AND SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
CBS TO AIR GAME LIVE, WITH KICKOFF SET FOR 3:30 PM ET
HALFTIME EVENT TO FEATURE RECIPIENTS OF THE GREGG ALLMAN SCHOLARSHIP FUND
ALONGSIDE PERFORMANCE OF CLASSIC ALLMAN SONGS BY
THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA REDCOAT MARCHING BAND
“GREGG ALLMAN: THE MIDNIGHT RIDER’S RALLY” PREMIERES VIA YOUTUBE
SOUTHERN BLOOD CONTINUES TO RULE AMERICANA CHARTS
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAMER’S LAST RECORDING AMONG 2017’S MOST ACCLAIMED
SOUTHERN BLOOD AVAILABLE NOW
The extraordinary life and legacy of Gregg Allman will be honored by the University of Georgia with a very special halftime celebration during the highly anticipated SEC Football game between the #1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, set for this Saturday, November 4th at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. The UGA will honor Allman for his remarkable contributions to American music as well as his personal generosity towards the University.
Established in 2014 by Allman in partnership with the UGA Music Business Program, The Gregg Allman Scholarship Fund is awarded to students attending the prestigious Hugh Hodgson School of Music. This Saturday’s UGA halftime tribute will see the talented recipients of the Gregg Allman Scholarship recognized alongside a once-in-a-lifetime performance of three classic Allman songs by the world famous University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band. South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Bulldogs will be broadcast live via CBS, with kickoff set for 3:30 pm ET (check local listings).
SOUTHERN BLOOD, the extraordinary final album from the legendary Allman, made a spectacular chart debut upon its arrival earlier this year, entering the SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #11 after its first week ofrelease. In addition, the acclaimed album arrived at #2 on Billboard’s “Americana/Folk Albums,” #3 on “Rock Albums,” and #5 on “Top Current Albums.” SOUTHERN BLOOD is available now from Rounder Records.
SOUTHERN BLOOD is available now at all digital music retailers and streaming services as well the Gregg Allman Official Store. A wide array of limited editions and special bundles are on offer, including digital download, Standard and Deluxe CD, and limited edition heavyweight vinyl and vinyl test presses. For complete details, please visit the Gregg Allman Official Store.
In other news, Allman’s lifelong passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles is captured in an emotional new film documenting “THE MIDNIGHT RIDER’S RALLY” events held in September at Harley-Davidson locations across North America. The rallies saw celebrations of Allman and his groundbreaking music, including premiere plays of SOUTHERN BLOOD as well as a wide range of local artists performing songs from the Allman canon. In addition, classic Harley-Davison motorcycles from Allman’s own fabled collection were on display at locations including the musician’s hometown Harley-Davidson of Macon, GA. “GREGG ALLMAN: THE MIDNIGHT RIDER’S RALLY” is streaming now via Allman’s official YouTube.
Allman’s legacy was further honored last month with the first-ever “The Gregg Allman Hepatitis C Leadership Award,” a new annual award presented by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable at the organization’s 15th anniversary dinner in Washington, DC. Allman – who in 2011 went public about his own battle with hepatitis C – was a vocal advocate for testing and awareness, raising critical funds to support the NVHR before his death earlier this year from liver cancer complications. “The Gregg Allman Hepatitis C Leadership Award” was accepted by Allman’s longtime manager, Michael Lehman, and will henceforth be presented each year to recognize exceptional work on behalf of people living with viral hepatitis.
SOUTHERN BLOOD now stands tall among the most acclaimed releases of Allman’s brilliant career, with Rolling Stone hailing it as “a moving farewell statement à la twilight masterworks by Leonard Cohen and David Bowie…While SOUTHERN BLOOD is rich with intimations of mortality, it’s easygoing too, with a laid-back generosity that recalls Allman’s kindest Seventies work.” “Even without the obvious gravitas hovering over the project, this is an exceptional work and arguably Allman’s finest non-Brothers release,” declared American Songwriter. “(SOUTHERN BLOOD) caps a remarkable career in a typically classy and thoroughly refined, unflinchingly personal, fashion.” “A fine collection of songs sung by a truly great singer,” applauded Exclaim. “Unlike many rockers of a certain age, Allman’s voice never faded, and while he may not have been belting these songs out with the usual raw power, his singing is as sweet and soulful as ever.” “SOUTHERN BLOOD is the kind of farewell every rock ‘n’ lifer hopes to make,” wrote NPR Music. “But when the fateful hour arrives, few are blessed with both the time and the touch to pull it off.” “It’s Allman’s composition, ‘My Only True Friend.’ that stands as this album’s greatest monument,” declared USA Today, further noting “Allman’s voice delivers in peak form. If this were the debut of a new singer on the rise, critics would laud his control of nuance, his expressiveness and ability to get inside a lyric. They’d also note the more immeasurable qualities of raw soul and genuine passion.” The Independent praised SOUTHERN BLOOD for mining Allman’s “weatherbeaten growl for every ounce of melancholy retrospection and road-weary resignation,” while Newsweek extolled the album as “spirited, often moving and rooted in the soulful, unmistakably Southern blues-rock fusion that had been his life’s work since the twilight of the 1960s.”
“Farewell albums from musicians who know they are dying have become a thing of late,” wrote the Associated Press. “And Allman’s just might be the best of them. (SOUTHERN BLOOD) veers deeply into parting sentiment, but it also reminds us of what a singular talent we just lost when he died in May.” SOUTHERN BLOOD is “a record that celebrates an oft-overlooked musician with elegance and style,” raved Classic Rock. “It’s not often anyone has the (albeit heartbreaking) luxury of being able to map out their own memorial, and Allman leaves us with his head held high and a record of rare beauty.”
“Despite its dark subtext, the album isn’t mournful in the least,” wrote The Daily Beast. “True to its title and cover art (a bridge running through a lush thicket of Spanish moss in Allman’s native Savannah), the immaculately produced SOUTHERN BLOOD bursts with rejoiceful soul, gospel, and blues.” SOUTHERN BLOOD “has a lean, bluesy persistence,” declared New York Newsday. “(Allman’s) famously gnarled vocals fit beautifully with a sympathetic band and gospel harmonies on Little Feat’s ‘Willin” and his own ‘My Only True Friend.'” “An excellent record on its own terms,” wrote Glide, “(SOUTHERN BLOOD) also compares favorably to (Allman’s) famous solo debut, LAID BACK, making the final work of this iconic artist all the more memorable.”
As noted, SOUTHERN BLOOD is highlighted by one of the most candid tracks of Allman’s long songwriting career, “My Only True Friend,” co-written with Gregg Allman Band guitarist/musical director Scott Sharrard. The song premiered earlier this summer exclusively via NPR Music, which raved, “From its stately introduction through a wrenching guitar solo at the close, the track exudes a surefooted classic-rock grandeur we don’t hear much anymore. Yet Allman keeps it on an intimate scale…Allman sings like he’s confiding to a friend, distilling hours of stock-taking and introspection. He’s plainspoken, like always, and his casual air adds disarming resonance to what is clearly a farewell statement.” “My Only True Friend” is joined by a powerfully moving official video, streaming now at Gregg Allman’s official YouTube channel after its exclusive premiere via Relix.
SOUTHERN BLOOD serves as a remarkable final testament from an artist who never shied away from baring his trials and troubles, happiness and heartbreak, to the world through music. Allman’s first all-new recording since 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated solo landmark, LOW COUNTRY BLUES, the album is among the most uniquely personal of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s career, an emotionally expansive collection of songs written by friends and favorite artists including Jackson Browne, Lowell George, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn, and Willie Dixon meant to serve as a salutary farewell to his legion of devoted fans and admirers. Allman was assisted in his closing project by manager Michael Lehman and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Don Was, a longtime acquaintance and stanch supporter committed to helping the rock icon actualize his very specific aspirations.
Rich with emotional texture, historical connectivity, and purity of performance, SOUTHERN BLOOD would be a landmark Gregg Allman record under any circumstance, its powerful subject matter and passionate presentation as emblematic an expression of his distinctive art as any prior work in the Allman canon. Though his loss leaves a vast musical space that can never truly be filled, SOUTHERN BLOOD stands tall as an extraordinary valedictory and memorial to a true giant of American music, now and forever.
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