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The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest

Magnolia Fest 2015
The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest
Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL

Writer: Niklaus Earl
Photographer: Amber Jennings/Crowe Light Photography

Here’s what you missed: the fall season kick off at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida on October 15th – 18th that celebrated the 19th Annual Magnolia Fest.


To elaborate, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a 500+ acre, premier campground and music park located on the banks of the Suwannee river with accommodations for any type of camper, ranging from primitive sites for those who like to truly rough it, to rental cabins for those who like to camp with all of the modern creature comforts at hand. A campground of this nature provides a venue for even those who shiver in dread at the word ‘camping’ to enjoy a music festival. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park does it’s level best to provide everything that a guest could need while camping, so that the guest can get on with the business of relaxing and enjoying the many musical offerings to be found on their four stages over the course of four days.


At around four in the afternoon on Thursday, the Florida-grown Lee Boys took the stage at the Amphitheater and kicked things off under a clear, blue Florida sky. Their unique, ‘sacred steel’ music is a form of Gospel music with deep roots in blues, but which also embraces and beautifully blends soul, funk, rock, jazz, country, and hip-hop. Their style of music was the perfect way to begin the festival as it faultlessly embraced the core message of Magnolia Fest; All Are Welcome. After the warm festy welcome by the Lee Boys eight more bands would keep the music flowing between the Amphitheater stage and the Porch stage; the Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet, Nikki Talley and Lake Street Dive until 1:30 in the morning.


By ten in the evening the temperatures had dropped thirty degrees from the daytime highs in the mid 80’s to the low to mid 50’s but did little diminish the enthusiasm of festival-goers as The Motet, a disco-funk revival band out of Colorado, laid down a sound that blew away any thoughts of being chilly and installed a single, musical imperative in their place: You Must Boogie! Children new to this sound danced alongside folks in their sixties and seventies who were remembering younger days in the Age of Funk and Disco as decades-old muscle-memory awakened within them and drove them to shake their aged-yet-still-funky booties. Joy suffused the faces of fans as The Motet put every effort into shaking the leaves from the trees of the outdoor theater with their mighty sound. Bass, two-piece brass, drums, keyboards, percussion, guitar, and vocals all came together flawlessly to create a modern tapestry of those musical elements that made the Disco-Funk era great, while leaving behind those elements that made it cringe-worthy.


Following The Motet, western North Carolinian Nikki Talley kept things rolling from eleven to midnight on the Porch Stage, offering a more intimate country duet set with herself and husband Jason Sharp playing and harmonizing sweetly, allowing guests to cool off without going cold.


At midnight, the final set of the night was performed by Lake Street Dive back at the Amphitheater Stage. The three-piece, four member band makes up for any possible lack of sound they might have compared to larger bands by adding their voices to the mix in precise harmonies that work to supplement and support the drums, double-bass, and guitar and/or trumpet, all of which work together to provide a framework for the strong lead vocals. Taken as a whole, the artists provide a cohesive sound where every part exists in a musical symbiosis and no element offers discord by trying to outshine its fellows. All fancy talk aside, Lake Street Dive laid down a sound big enough to keep festival-goers dancing until 1:30 in the morning.


By noon on Friday, the temperatures were back up in the 80’s where they would stay for the rest of the day, with the light clouds and mild breezes typical of a Florida fall day. The first full day of the festival was in swing as all of the park’s four stages came to life. Merchants and food vendors were fully operational and ready to greet ever increasing numbers of attendees who arrived throughout the day that hurriedly set up camp and then made their way to the main festival area. Here the festival-goers wandered back and forth between the three outdoor stages and the refreshingly dark and air-conditioned Music Hall, catching the bands that they had come to see as well as becoming fans of bands that had been, until now, unknown to them. With twenty-one bands playing on four stages in a thirteen-and-a-half hour time frame, it would be just as impossible to not find a band that tickled your fancy as it would be to see every single performance, though there were those who certainly made a valiant effort at doing the latter. Artists performing bluegrass, country, blues, rock and roll, Cajun, funk, and endless variations of all of the above could be found all day and night throughout the park.


Of the many great artists to be seen performing on Friday, one absolute, not-to-be-missed set was that of The Del McCoury Band. At 76 years of age, Del is the epitome of the classic, classy bluegrass performer. He and his band, including sons Ronnie and Rob, took the Meadow Stage at six in the evening. Dressed in suits and ties in spite of the 84 degree heat they played in the finest bluegrass tradition with the sun kissing their faces as it sank below the cypress.


More often than not, in spite of having the expanse of the massive Meadow Stage on which to perform, the band clustered closely together in a tight knot, singing into a single mic in much the same way as Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys did seventy years prior. To see Del perform is to see a man who appears to be the happiest man in music. In spite of the heat and the sun shining in his eyes and the gnats in his face – several of which he claims to have swallowed while singing, “…they went down pretty easy, though…” he complained not at all, but rather grinned his infectious grin and laughed like the possessor of the world’s funniest joke. Singing songs about being sad and blue while seemingly tickled pink at life, Del McCoury looks to be the living example of the person that we all wish that we could be: the person who has found the thing they love to do the most in the world, and then got paid to do it.


The sun set as the Del McCoury Band played the last songs of their set. The heat fell away while fans smiled and tapped their feet to the music or danced in happy abandon. The dust kicked up by feet mingled with the smoke of campfires while the evening mist of the cooling humid Florida air worked to soften the view of the meadow. Happy festy folk danced and smiled as dragon flies flew overhead while Del continued his set. Children and families played without care or concern, content to exist in the moment as night fell and Del and his band bowed and left the stage. There were moments throughout the weekend that perfectly crystallized the nature and intent of what Magnolia Fest was meant to be, and this was certainly one of them.


Though the Del McCoury Band set might seem like the perfect ending to a great day, there were still six and a half hours of shows left to be enjoyed, starting with The London Souls on the Porch Stage. The New York City based power-duo turned the page as day became night and their music filled the vending area with a massive sound that was surprising in its strength for having been made by only two men. Doyle Bramhall II took to the Meadow Stage and The Congress filled the Music Hall with their sound, each band doing their part to remind attendees that, though the sun was down, the day was far from over. Then the Amphitheater Stage was mounted by The Travelin’ McCourys with guest musicians, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel) and Earl Walker (drums) of The Lee Boys as well as Ronnie McCoury’s eldest son, Evan, on guitar. As an additional special guest, Del McCoury took the stage in order to lend his talents to the performance of ‘My Love Will Not Change’.


After the Travelin’ McCoury’s, the Tedeschi Trucks Band took over the Meadow Stage for a two hour set. The twelve member band filled the night with their southern-style rock and Gospel sound. The superb skills of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks were generously supported by a fat brass section, a trio of backup singers, keyboards, bass, and, not one, but two drum kits, all orchestrated in such a way that never was the sound cacophonous or overwhelming, but always a perfect mix of the right sound in the right place.


By 11:30, many festival-goers thought themselves spent for the night and ready to return to their camps until The Motet began their second set of the weekend. People who thought themselves depleted of energy found themselves recharged and ready to shake to the funk for the next two hours. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, the music on the main stages came to an end. As attendees made their way back to their campsites the gentle picking of Slopry Land would divert their attention and call to them to enjoy the late night festivals throughout the campground.


Saturday was another beautiful fall Florida day with highs in the low 80’s. Attendees marveled at how early noon comes when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning the night previous, but put on their happy faces and were present in respectable numbers when the first of twenty-two bands to play that day took their places on the stages. It would be another thirteen-and-a-half hour marathon with some bands like Berry Oakley’s Skylab, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers and more giving repeat performances, much to the relief of many fans who had been forced to choose between seeing these bands and others who were only playing on Friday.


Fans that missed the performance of Steep Canyon Rangers on Friday were able to catch them on the Meadow Stage Saturday afternoon. The sextet thoroughly entertained the crowd with a modern bluegrass sound which is still firmly rooted in its ancestral soil. To the joy of many present, they invited Jeff Austin and two of his band members to join them on stage to play, demonstrating one of the key elements of bluegrass; a love of playing and picking with friends.


One of the most notable moments of the Steep Canyon Rangers’ set was when fiddle player, Nicky Sanders, left the stage to come down to play along the rail where he was given a bear-hug by an enthusiastic fan. Upon extracting himself, Sanders backed up and tripped over the stairs leading back up to the stage. Though stumbling, Sanders managed to keep his feet without doing himself an injury or dropping a single note in his furious fiddle playing.


Adding another musical element to the festival, the Rebirth Brass Band took the Meadow Stage and filled the evening air with a prime example of New Orleans jazz brass. Fans in the know danced energetically while waving hankies, scarves, bandanas, or just index and middle fingers held together in the air to signal their approval of the sounds this band of thirty-two years was laying down.


Jeff Austin Band returned to the stage with his band for his scheduled set at 7:30 pm, giving fans another example of solid, jam-grass. The thing that distinguishes Jeff Austin from so many other excellent bluegrass musicians is the obvious punk-rock soul that seems to seethe just beneath the surface and which influences both the lyrics and the beat of many of his songs. The overall feel of much of his music speaks of a vision of the world that is greyer and less ‘bright and shiny’ than traditional bluegrass and watching him perform is like watching a bluegrass version of Angus Young as he shreds on his mandolin. As always, it is an exhilarating performance.


The headliners of the night were The Avett Brothers with a much expanded lineup, taking the stage at 9:30 pm to the joy of their adoring fans. A crowd of smiling, upturned faces reflected stage light back at the band as music spilled across the meadow and drew the greatest number of fans for any performance of the weekend. In spite of chilly temperatures in the upper 50’s, fans in shorts and t-shirts would sooner have sawn off a limb than leave for warmer clothes and risk missing a single minute of the two hour set. Their love of the band would be enough to keep them warm.


Finally, rounding off the evening back at the Amphitheater Stage, Donna the Buffalo, a core band of Magnolia Fest, played their first set of the weekend. They lead festival-goers out of the last hours of Saturday and into the first hours of Sunday with their distinctive sound that had fans, as always, dancing almost nonstop.


Scattering outward into the darkness after the last notes of Donna The Buffalo had faded away, many a camper drifted back to their respective campsites to wind down before turning in, but no small number of people made their ways through the darkness to seek out the many islands of sound that drew them in back into Slopery Land like moths to an audible flame. Here, musical guests and festival attendees alike played long into the small hours of the morning, keeping the music going on a lower key, though with no less earnestness than any of the performances which had come before.


Sunday dawned cool and breezy and had a distinct, ‘the party is winding down’ feeling to it. It was the kind of morning that encouraged one to enjoy breakfast slowly and to linger over hot, fragrant coffee while mulling over the events of the preceding days and nights. Only a single stage, the Amphitheater Stage, would be in use by five bands for a piddling eight-and-a-half hour day of music. O, what luxurious and relaxing bliss does a lazy Sunday bring!


Looking out over the meadow where the now-silent Meadow Stage stood, one was given sight of yet another of those moments that perfectly crystallized the core notion that Magnolia Fest was founded on. Children laughed, played and giggled with the pure abandon that is the sole province of the innocence of youth, while adults looked on and smiled to see such beauty in the world. Here was a moment in time where the grinding concerns of life could be set aside momentarily and one could embrace the joy to be found in a world of music and the camaraderie one finds in the company of others in whose souls also dwells an appreciation for beauty in all its varied forms.


At noon the music started off with Big Cosmo, followed by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Jim Lauderdale, all of whom drew solid attendance and put out enough energy to keep exhausted festival-goers, if not dancing outright, smiling and tapping their feet at the very least. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those folks dancing on Sunday were aged roughly 12 and below, as they seem tapped into an energy source to which the rest of us have long since lost access.


By 4:00 in the late afternoon when Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel took the stage, the batteries of most of the adults had recharged enough that they were able to dance along with the tireless children. The previously clear air of the day is now dissected by shafts of sunlight because of the amount of dust kicked into the air by happy feet. Bubbles float lazily overhead, hula-hoops are enthusiastically, if not always professionally, spun, little children are bounced on the shoulders of parents, hammocks rock, and fans sing along as Keller plays.


Last, but not least by any stretch, Donna The Buffalo takes the stage once again for the final set of the day, giving fans two more hours of music with which to enfold their spirits before taking their leave of the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and picking back up their burdens of daily life. Though the music of Magnolia Fest has come to an end for another year, the memory of the music and the joyful festival-goers and the perfect weather will linger on in our minds and, in times of need, hopefully be a balm to our souls when we are sometimes battered by the casual indifference of daily life. It is in the memory of joy and beauty that we find the strength to straighten our backs and smile when we might otherwise bow our heads and let the innumerable little burdens of life break us down. It is for those memories that Magnolia Fest exists, and we hope next year to see you there, so that next time, You, dear reader, are the one who can begin the story with, ‘Here’s what you missed…’


The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

Magnolia Fest 2015

Features Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band & more

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL


In just one week Magnolia Fest will celebrate it’s 19th year at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The festival kicks off on October 15th and will run through Sunday, October 18th.


The line up for this year includes Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band, Roosevelt Collier & The Travelin McCourys, Doyle Bramhall II, Steep Canyon Rangers, Rebirth Brass Band, Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, The Motet, New Orleans Suspects, Col Bruce Hampton, Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons, Lost Bayou Ramblers, CeDell Davis, The Lee Boys, The Congress, Band of Heathens, The London Souls, Nikki Talley and more.


The 500+ plus acre campground of Spirit of the Suwannee provides one of the most unique festival experiences a festivarian can have. The beautiful wooded floodplain surrounded by upland pine woods and maturing hardwood forests draped in thick lush Spanish moss bestows one of the finest backdrops imaginable. The mystic of the antebellum era can be felt as one hikes through the 12 miles of trails.


Magnolia Fest will kick off on Thursday, October 15th with the American sacred steel ensemble, Lee Boys. The Florida based band’s unique sound has attracted musical such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue, Umphrey’s McGee, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toubab Krewe, Victor Wooten, The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin’ McCourys- all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them. The Amphitheater and Porch stage will host acts throughout the day from Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet (who will also close out the evening on Friday), Appalachian singer song writer Nikki Talley. The evening is set to close with Massachusetts based band, Lake Street Drive known for their split difference between Motown soul, sixties pop zip and British invasion swagger.



The lineup for Friday continues the introduction of some world’s finest performers in Americana, Roots Rock, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter, Bluegrass & Newgrass, Cajun/Zydeco with opening acts Grits and Soul and Bonnie Blue. Friday also sees the addition of two stages, an expansive Meadow Stage and the Music Hall. Performances will include Mojo Gurus, Applebutter Express, Berry Oakley’s Skylab. The Lee Boys, The Corbitt Brothers, Nikki Talley and The Congress will take to the stages once again for those who missed out on the Thursday sets. The lineup continues with Cedell Davis, Habanero Honeys, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Col. Bruce Hampton, Grammy award winning bluegrass favorites the Del MCoury Band, Quartermoon, The London Souls and Doyle Bramhall II whose been on tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band.  The Travelin’ McCourys with the front man for the Lee Boys Roosevelt Collier will play a set before the headline for the evening Tedeschi Trucks Band. The Colorado impro funk band The Motet will wrap up the performances on the stages. Late night campfire pickin’ will continue into the wee hours of the morning by attendees and performers alike.



Saturday’s lineup packed to the gills with goodness will include Steve Pruett’s Back from the Brink, Bryce Alastair Band, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Quartermoon, Berry Oakley’s Skylab, The Corbitt Brothers, Flagship Romance, Whetherman, JacksonVegas, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sloppy Joe, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, Quebe Sisters, Rebirth Brass Band, Grits and Soul, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jeff Austin Band, Jim Lauderdale, New Orleans Suspects. The multi Grammy award winning Americana folk rock band, The Avett Brothers, will headline the Meadow Stage Saturday evening. Donna the Buffalo the amazing zydeco, folk rock band will close out the evening.



donna buffalo


The low key Sunday schedule gives attendees the opportunity to explore the wonderful Spirit of the Suwanee Park. The shady banks of the historic Suwannee River provide an excellent picturesque paddling experience with canoe rentals or wandering the trails by bike or foot. The lineup for Sunday starts at noon on the Amphitheater stage with Big Cosmo, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jim Lauderdale, Keller William’s Grateful Gospel and will close with a set from Donna the Buffalo.


Tickets are on sale in advance and at the gate. Tickets are $200 until October 14th; and $210 at gate. All weekend tickets are inclusive of all taxes and fees, and include 4 days of primitive camping and music. Kids under 12 are invited to join for free. Fans can also upgrade their experience with VIP tickets for $400 which includes dinner, discounts, VIP Lounge, festival poster, & other perks. Single day tickets are available. Student and Military tickets are $180 and $210 at the gate. The Live Oak Music And Arts Foundation (LOMAF) will have a booth with raffles to raise money for the local music and art programs in the area.

SOSMP is located between Jacksonville, Florida & Tallahassee, Florida about 30 minutes south of the Georgia State line, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville. For RV hook ups, cabin rentals and golf cart rentals, please visit the park’s web site at www.musicliveshere.com call SOSMP at (386)-364-1683. For further information and tickets, please visit →www.magnoliafest.com/tickets.

Forty Years of Unrelenting Music: Bands and Musicians share their memories of the Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band 8-1-12 at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta Ga. Peachtreeimages.com/Lisa Keel2012

This article originally appeared in March 2009 as part of Honest Tune’s coverage celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band.  As the band prepares to play their final show ever at the Beacon Theatre we thought it would be a great time to revisit this piece.  We asked some of our favorite bands to share their thoughts, memories, and importance of the Allman Brothers Band.  So put on your copy of At Fillmore East, dim the lights, and dig in.


ColbruceCol. Bruce Hampton (Aquarium Rescue Unit)

Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“Statesboro Blues,” because of Duane’s playing.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

September 1969(?) at Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Forty years of unrelenting music.

 marcoMarco Benevento (Benevento/Russo Duo)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” It was one of the first songs I had to wait to hear the end of. I remember I was like 8 and my Mom and I had gone to my Grandmothers for dinner and when we got there it was on the radio and I was like I am not going in until this is over. I have to know who it is and then waiting in the car until the song was over. And when they said it was the Allman Brothers, I was like that was awesome I didn’t know the ABB did instrumentals.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

First time I took acid was at an Allman Brothers show. It was at Garden States Art Center in New Jersey – now called PNC Bank Arts Center. I don’t remember when that was maybe 94 or earlier than that.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Something about “Liz Reed.” There are no lyrics, no story, no person telling a story with words, but the way they compose an instrumental song as a rock band and still make music that is captivating and almost sound like it has lyrics so that you can hum is great.


 pearsonJack Pearson (Jack Pearson Band, Allman Brothers Band)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

At Fillmore East is one of my favorites, I spent a lot of time listening and learning that record.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

I wouldn’t be able to single out one show, I thought we had a lot of good nights when everyone was listening to each other and taking the music somewhere.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

I listened to their early records a lot. I always liked the sound that the original lineup had. To me, it sounded like they played with a lot of dynamics. The singing, playing, good grooves, lots of interplay, it was very creative. Getting to hear Gregg sing in the kitchen or hotel room while we’re writing a song is very special to me. Playing with Dickey in his living room. I have a lot of wonderful memories.


 ericmartinezEric Martinez (Bloodkin)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

Eat a Peach without a doubt. The songs are timeless and the guitar slinging that goes on is off the charts. Plus a lot of the songs are cuts from live shows and the record still has a cohesive feel. And if you are lucky enough to find a copy of the double fold out vinyl you get a really cool drawing in the fold out.

As far as my favorite Allman’s song goes, I really dig a lot of their songs, so here are a few favorites, “Les Brers In A Minor,” “Back Where It All Begins,” “Desdemona,” “Southbound,” “Mountain Jam,” and the list goes on.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

My first show was at the Nissan Pavilion in Fairfax, VA in ’95 or ’96 and I had no idea who was playing with them at that time. Well it turned out to be Warren Haynes and Allen Woody, both of whom I had never heard play. I had never seen or heard any musician manhandle instruments like they did and every time Warren or Dickey would take a solo they would get a close up of their hands on the big screen. It was like a three hour guitar schooling. What a show!

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Back in 1992 after learning to play guitar from listening to the heavy metal bands of the 80’s my good buddy Dan showed up at my house with Eat A Peach. He showed me the major scale tuned on “Blue Sky” and I have never been the same since.



i-mZNBMfh-LRob Barraco (Dark Star Orchestra)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers song or album?

My favorite album is At Fillmore East. It opened my eyes to jamming possibilities even before I ever heard of the Dead.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

 Favorite moment was sitting in with the Brothers at the Beacon and sharing Gregg’s organ bench.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

I believe the first answer covers the third question.



drewDrew Heller (Toubab Krewe)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“Dreams” is without a doubt my favorite Allman Brothers song. One of those ones I’ve always rewound and listened to again after it plays. Just about everything I love about music is happening in “Dreams.” It is swampy and beautiful. It takes its time to unfold and even as it does there’s something abstract about the time of the song itself. The guitar lines kind of slowly drifting through clouds of organ, walking bass, cymbals and snare drums fluttering softly, and then there’s that pause with the drum fills at 5:46 on the studio recording. So, so nice.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

About 15 years ago, having just gotten our driver’s licenses, some friends and I in Asheville got in a car and took what I think was my first road trip to go see live music in a different city. It was the Allman Brothers. Rock and Roll and the highway are inseparably good friends, and in my own life it was then that the two met. (Jazz Fest in New Orleans a couple of years back was my most recent show and an amazing one too.)

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

They are still impacting me so I am not sure exactly what to make of it.



billyiusoBilly Iuso (Restless Natives)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers Album/ Song? Why?

Eat a Peach – love the cover art. I’m old enough to have had the ALBUM. As for song – “Melissa,” My sister was named after it. My Dad is a big fan also.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

All. They have never disappointed me live …But of course Jazz Fest a few years back was sweet…

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Gregg’s voice and the intensity of his voice – I’ve tried to mimic him over the years…always felt comfortable singing Gregg’s parts. I also used one of Duane’s Stratocasters that producer Johnny Sandlin had during the recording the first Brides of Jesus record.


 georgeGeorge Sluppick (City Champs, Mofro, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers Album/ Song? Why?

I would have to say, without hesitation is “Midnight Rider” and here’s why…it’s the first one I heard and I was instantly a fan. The groove, the lyrics and Gregg’s voice are so killin on this tune. It was on an album that my dad bought me, back in the 70’s, a compilation called The South’s Greatest Hits that also had Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop, The Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker Band, Dr. John, Lynyrd Skynyrd and several others. What a great record and I wore the hell out of ABB. I was probably ten at that point and had been playing drums for a while already, maybe five years. I loved westerns too and this tune definitely has that cowboy theme to it. What a classic. Favorite album is Eat a Peach. Definitely.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

Well, when I was touring with JJ Grey & MOFRO, we were given the opportunity to open for ABB on several shows and it was amazing to get to sit in the wings and watch the masters at work. Derek is a peer and we’ve known one another for several years, ever since my days in Robert Walter’s 20th Congress and he’s easily one of my favorite musicians in the world, in addition to being one of the sweetest, most genuine folks you’ll ever meet. I think that he and Warren together are a perfect match and really complement one another so well. Of course, as a fellow drummer, Butch and Jaimoe are so killer and really fun to watch.

My favorite live moment was during a show in Virginia Beach, at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre on August 12th, 2007. I was sitting backstage during their sound check and noticed some crew members putting a lot of chairs on the stage, on either side of the band, and then later that night was told that the folks sitting in those chairs were mostly family members and close friends. My respect for them was increased ten-fold and I thought it was so kind of them to share with people like that and I just prayed that I would one day be able to attain that level of generosity. Those folks seemed to be having the time of their lives sitting there on that stage, so close to the band and the music. What a time!

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

I have the utmost respect for them and hold them in the highest regard. They have proven to the world that patience, perseverance and humility are good things to live by and most definitely keys to longevity in this business of music. They are my heroes. Rock on fellas! Much love and respect to y’all.



jessJess Franklin (Tishamingo)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“Dreams.” Gregg’s voice, Duane’s slide. Not to mention one of the most moving songs to me in there whole catalog. For the original record, and original cut, they sound weathered (in a great way) beyond their years!

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

Live show at High-Fi Buys Amphitheater (at that time Lakewood) with Justin Brogdon, Evan Sheward, Jeff Davis and lots of other great friends in 2000 or 20001. Not long after Derek was with them (maybe a few years). They did a “Mountain Jam” into “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’,” as I remember it. Having shared the stage with Derek before, I realized at 20 or 21, he had once again surpassed any other guitar player I knew, in a style derived from Duane, but so very much his own!

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Gregg’s vocals, all of the guitar players (Duane, Dickey, Jack Pearson, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes – obviously in no order), Chuck Leavell and Gregg on keys and organ, Oteil and all of the other great players that the Allman’s have surrounded themselves with over the years.

Most of all, I love the song writing. Drawing lines perfectly between Soul, Rock, Blues, and Country. Basically inventing or at least co-inventing a style of music I can’t live without. SOUTHERN ROCK!!


bird dogJeff “Bird Dog” Lane (Outformation)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

Favorite song – “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Reason: The first time I really “heard” this song was when I was 20 yrs old. I was crossing the Sea of Cortez on a 12-hour, overbooked ferry ride from La Paz to Mazatlan. I found a restricted staircase that led up to the roof. I sat in the very middle and all I could see around me was infinite blue horizons in every direction. I put on my Sony Walkman tape player (the old yellow one, remember?) and it was the first song to play. I listened to it over and over for about the next 12 hours in complete solitude, I’ll never forget it.

Favorite album – At Fillmore East. In high school I heard tales of how this show ended at sunrise. I still don’t know how true it is [ED: it is true], but I remember thinking, “Wow! How cool would that be to jam with your band till sunrise?” True or not, 15 years later, every time my band does it I think about this album. I also like the stories behind the album cover shots.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

Allman Brothers Band at World’s Fair Park, Knoxville, TN in 1995. I was 20. “Nobody Left To Run With Anymore.” I had just lost a good friend and this song brought me to my knees sobbing. Nothing had ever moved me like that at a concert before, although I was so sad, it was beautiful.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

As a percussionist the question is how haven’t they influenced me? Mark Quinones plays some of the most brilliant conga patterns and rhythms I’ve ever heard. Bringing that drumming element to the table of southern rock/jam is what really floats my boat. The sound jumps out at me and makes me (as a younger, aspiring musician); strive to be that tasteful and simple. A good example is “Back Where It All Begins.” I don’t care how many times I hear that song, the percussion always makes me smile. I love it.

Long live the Allman Brothers Band!! Thanks for everything!!



johnnyJohnny Zvolensky (Old Union)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” It was the first song that my band in college tried to cover from the ABB. It might as well have been an educational music class to me at the time. It taught me of those classic guitar harmonies, learning to execute those intricate sections of the song properly as well as diving into the improvised solos but making sure that you can lead the band back to the musical signposts within the song. I learned a lot from that song being a freshly imported “Northern Boy” in Southern territory. It was an essential “class” for anyone wanting to play Southern rock music.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

My favorite ABB live show was at the Nautica Stage in Cleveland, OH, in the summer of 1998. I was up in Cleveland working for the summer and was attending Middle Tennessee State University during the school year. I had been highly influenced at the time by a local Murfreesboro blues band, The Nationals, especially by the guitarist, Jack Pearson. His playing was so inspiring that I would run home after seeing him and immediately had to play the guitar.

Anyways, I had not known that Jack had joined the Allmans for that tour and I couldn’t believe it when I saw him on stage. I tried telling my friends that I saw his band every other Wednesday at The Boro Bar and Grill, but nobody believed me. It turned out to be a wonderful show and made me appreciate Tennessee and the talent that is immersed in the culture. Through recent years, we have come to be friends with Jack and had the honor of playing on stage with him, so I guess it comes full circle for me.

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

If it weren’t for the ABB, then it is hard to say that Old Union would be doing what we do. They are an influence to all the members in the band. Guitar harmonies, rhythm and lead switching between Spotty and I, are some important techniques to Old Union and what many of our fans love to hear. They are directly influenced by the ABB and others like The Charlie Daniels Band and Skynyrd. Oh, and everybody thinks Chuck Foster (lead vocalist, keys) looks like a young Greg Allman, so I guess we wouldn’t have that going for us.



Jesse HammockJesse Hammock (Shady Deal, Powder Mill)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or Song?

The greatest Allman Brothers Band record has got to be At Fillmore East. There are ABB records I listen to more these days, but this one got me hook, line and sinker in about 9th grade. I don’t think this record would have been possible without Tom Dowd’s revolutionary live recording techniques. The music itself showed the diversity of the Brothers with their mix of jazz, classical, hard rock, and blues. This album also had the original lineup of Sky Dog and Dickey. Often over looked is the stellar musicians sitting in at the live show including Thom Doucette on harp, Steve Miller on piano, Randolph Carter on sax, and even Elvin Bishop doing some vocal work. This record paved the way for bands to produce/edit/release live records.

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

“Elizabeth Reed” w/ Dickey Betts and Duane Allman.

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

The ABB has not influenced my music per say because I have never played with musicians that can pull off what they do. Gregg Allman’s delivery and soul-filled voice has influenced my singing. But they are musicians I prefer to listen to and not imitate. Plainly said, they are just too damn good to try and imitate. The Southern aspect of their music has influenced the direction in which I have taken my music, but a lot of that comes from where you grow up. And growing up….I listened to the ABB



luke millerLuke Miller (Lotus)

1.) Favorite Allman Brothers Album/ Song? Why?

My introduction to the Allman Brothers was the song “Jessica.” It had that joyful, open road, wind-in-your-hair feel that came to epitomize my high school years. My friend and I labored over a mix tape called Cruisin’ which was kind of our personal soundtrack of all the greatest driving songs. “Jessica” closed out the first side.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment (in audience or on stage w/ them)?

I grew up just down the road from Red Rocks. Seeing the Allmans there was a beautiful thing

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

In Lotus we do some harmonized guitar lead stuff, and that has been influenced by The Allman Brothers. And some of our major-keyed songs like “Umbilical Moonrise,” “Shimmer and Out,” and “Sunrain” are influenced by songs like “Blue Sky,” “Jessica,” and “Melissa.”



edanderson Ed Anderson (Backyard Tire Fire)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album/ song?

My favorite Allman Brothers studio album would have to be Eat a Peach. Favorite tune, “Blue Sky.” I feel like I could listen to that song for hours and not get tired of it. Dickey’s playing is on fire. It just makes me happy instantly when I hear it.

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

Favorite Brothers live stuff is that 1970 Ludlow Garage “Mountain Jam.” It’s an entire disc, forty-some odd minutes of instrumental bliss. It’s not quite as polished as the Fillmore, but it has a certain charm. Berry Oakley has an exceptional evening. That man was a force of nature on bass, as was Duane on guitar.

Favorite live moment for me was seeing them for the first time in the early 90s with Allen Woody and Warren and Dickey. That was a nasty line up.

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

They’ve influenced me in numerous ways. First, hearing the Fillmore stuff was huge. That was like a bible for guitar playing. And Gregg’s vocals at that age, amazing. He’s still kicking as, as are the Brothers. That’s the other thing. They’re still doing it. And doing it well. It’s admirable. Long live the Allman Brothers Band!



 Sam holtSam Holt (Sam Holt Band, Outformation)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

Tough one. I’d have to say “Come and Go Blues.” There’s something about hearing Gregg and that acoustic tuned to open G that speaks to me.

2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

 The first time I saw them was Lakewood in the fall of ’90. I was very young and very high and we were up close. Allen Woody blew my head off and I’ll never forget it. It was one of those ‘before and after’ experiences.

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

When I was working for Widespread Panic and we lost Mike [Houser] there was somewhat of a parallel with the tragedies that the ABB endured. They persevered and triumphed after such a tremendous loss. When I hear “Aint Wastin’ Time No More”, it reminds me that playing music is probably the most important thing I can do.



Jeff MillerJeff Miller (New Monsoon)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers Album/ Song?

Well, this is a multi-faceted answer for me. “Whipping Post” was definitely the song that hooked me when I was a kid. My mom had At Fillmore East on vinyl and let me play it REALLY loud! Thanks Mom. As I got older, different songs have had different significance in my life. “Dreams” recently has been my quintessential tune. The vibe and guitar tones of the original studio version give me chills every time…And then there are all the other tunes I love.

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

I saw them in Boston years ago with Dickey and Warren on guitar and the version of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” just slayed me.

Another moment was when we were playing at their fest at the Suwannee grounds in Florida and got to stand on stage during the show. I was watching Gregg from about 10 feet away!

3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

It’s hard to qualify exactly how the ABB’s music has impacted my/our music, other than to say that I grew up with it and it seeped in. When you are a kid, you gravitate to sounds, sights, etc that make you happy or feel something that you can’t explain, but you like it. As I got older and learned guitar, my appreciation for the guitar playing just furthered my love of the music. Now, having covered several different tunes of theirs live, I can say that they set the bar. I just try to show what I’ve learned!


 chrisChris Combs (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” from At Fillmore East. The dual guitar work is totally classic. They were listening to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue non-stop at that time and you can really hear that album’s influence in this track.

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

At Fillmore East is my favorite live Allman Brothers

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

Duane Allman’s and Derek Trucks’ slide work has been a huge influence on me. The original lineup is really my favorite. I love how languid and expressive their improvisations were. I definitely feel and attempt to channel Duane’s influence when I play lap steel.



seth walkerSeth Walker

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” Gregg and Duane’s last stand. It’s lyrically connected and the groove is a ten foot ditch!

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

The At Fillmore East album is as good as it gets.

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

The ABB has affected my music deeply. I lived in Jacksonville for a while and once you know that region of the country, you can’t help but hear the heat and humidity and attitude of the place in their sound. On a more literal level, they took the blues to a new place with melody, space and groove.



bryanBryan Rahija (Bombadil)

 1.) Favorite Allman Brothers album or song?

“Blue Sky.” I haven’t listened to this song for probably five years, but I bet I could still sing the entire guitar solo down to the last note. I used to listen to this song on repeat cruising through the Orange County (North Carolina) countryside after school.

 2.) Favorite Allman Brothers live show or live moment?

Seeing the Allman Brothers Band was actually my very first rock and roll concert. I lucked into a ticket after my friend’s Australian exchange student backed out. It was a great show, they played at Raleigh’s outdoor amphitheater and I remember wondering if that was what Woodstock was like. The shirt I bought is still two sizes too big and is to this day the most expensive t-shirt I own. Personal favorite moment of the show was, of course, hearing “Blue Sky.”

 3.) How has the Allman Brothers music influenced your music or impacted you?

“Little Martha” was one of the first finger-picking songs I learned to play on the guitar.   Other than that, they helped me gain an appreciation for live performance, because this band that I loved had released all these live records and were able to create these great environments for concert-going, it made me take live shows very seriously.


Getting It With Tinsley Ellis: The Honest Tune Interview

Tinsley EllisWith a new all-instrumental album, the guitar slinging bluesman Tinsley Ellis delves into his influences while putting the spotlight on his expressive guitar playing. Though he’s been playing for decades and recorded more than a dozen records, Get It! Marks the first time he’s collected an album consisting solely of instrumental tunes. The choices he makes in the cover tunes (Booker T & The MGs, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry) speak to his influences, while his original tunes show a player adept at creating a variety of sonic spaces that are entwined together with his emotive skill. In this interview, Ellis discusses those influences, his writing process and of course, Col. Bruce Hampton.


What made you decide to do an all-instrumental album at this time?

It’s been my experience that it’s good to give everybody something to talk about with an album. Every album needs to have a story so there’s something you can say about it other than its just another studio album. I sort of had that philosophy in 2005 when we did the live album and that was a good angle to be able to say something about the record. With the instrumental approach, it’s something that fans have been asking for for literally decades. I do a lot of instrumentals in my show. I always have and I’ve always recorded them on albums as well.




Are these songs collected over the years or did you set out to write an instrumental album?

 Other than the two cover songs—the Bo Diddley song “Detour,” and the Freddie King song (“Freddy’s Nightmare Dream”)—the songs are songs that I recorded without releasing them and performed them, all the way back almost into the ‘70s and early ‘80s when I was in the Heartfixers. The original songs were written over the past 10 or 20 years. Some are really old and some are really new. I just sort of stockpiled them. One day I was going through my music files on my computer and dragged all my instrumentals into a folder. Then I looked at the folder and, lo and behold, I had about 20 or 30 songs that were instrumental. I started messing around to see which ones were the best ones and those are the ones on the album.


Did you re-record all those songs or use the versions you had?

 I re-recorded them because they were just demos. I have a home studio and when I write a song I play all the instruments. Then when I go in the studio, I have the people who excel at those instruments play those parts. So I had them all demoed out and there were a lot of songs. I started thinking about all the requests from people over the years and decided to do an instrumental album and just let the guitar do the singing. Rather than just go in and rip it up and have everything be a solo, I had to be melodic. That was my goal to have it tasteful and melodic. Sure there are some times when the guitar ripped it up almost to the point of over the top and stopping just before we get to that point hopefully.


How did you put together the players for this?

 Ted Pecchio is in my band now and I’m really excited to have him in the group. This was our first thing we did together. I brought a handful of songs over to his studio and he put the bass on, took off my bass. I really wish I had him play all the bass on the album. At the time I had no idea it would sound so good. When he put that upright bass on the Chuck Berry tribute, “Berry Tossin’,” that was the sound I’ve been looking for for decades.


Glad to hear y’all are hooked up. I first got to know Ted through Bruce Hampton. I know you’ve played with Bruce in the past. How did working with him influence you?

 Bruce Hampton is …I’m not sure if he’s blues or folk music. But he’s someone who is a pivotal character on the scene here in the southeast. I’ve known him since the ‘70s. Our paths cross a lot of times over the years. We had a group called The Stained Souls. It started off as a blues band and then, that was what I do best. Then he takes it out. It turned into something completely different. I’m not sure there is a way to characterize what that band is.


Only Bruce Hampton could describe I guess.

 We started doing it 30 years ago this year. We haven’t done it in a while. The last time we did it was at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam as few years ago. It’s always me and Bruce and a revolving cast of characters in and out of the groups. It’s just a matter of when we do it. We seem to do a lot of benefit type stuff, which is cool because that’s when the music is best.


Are Kevin (McKendree, keyboards) and Lynn (Williams, drums) also in your band?

 They are Nashville guys and play up there with people like Delbert McClinton. I know them from Delbert’s band, although Kevin McKendree has played on every album I’ve done since 1997 when we hired him to do an album that Tom Dowd produced. So Kevin has been a fixture in my recording world. We actually had him mix the album and I think he did a super job mixing it.


Were there other instrumental guitar albums that influenced the sound of this one?

 Freddie King had an album called Hideaway in the early ‘60s with a lot of his instrumental hits on it. That’s one of my favorite albums. You know, a really big one for me was the Jeff Beck Blow by Blow that came out in the ‘70s. I actually saw that tour in the mid ‘70s. But it seems lately that the whole genre of guitar instrumentals has sadly gone away. In the ‘60s when I was first getting into music there were a lot of instrumental bands like the Ventures, and my favorite band of all time was an instrumental band called Booker T and the MGs.


Yeah, I kinda hear some Booker T and the MGs on this album, “Front Street Freeze” for one.

 Absolutely. That’s my favorite group, so hopefully that shines through.


Another that I hear flavors of is the Meters.

 Yeah, the Meters are another great group. You know, being from the Georgia area I think we lean closer to the Memphis sound than the New Orleans sound.  In fact, the rhythm and blues people from Georgia, when they would go to record, they didn’t take them to Chicago, they didn’t take them to New Orleans. They took them to Memphis. So you had Sam & Dave recording in Memphis. You had Otis Redding go there to record. And maybe there’s a Georgia –Memphis collection. Of course New Orleans is its own world and nothing sounds like New Orleans. I wouldn’t dare try to say that I could even have that sound. But I can get into some Memphis stuff for sure.


How do you go about coming up with titles for instrumentals?

 That is a tricky one. An even harder thing to do is to get people to remember which song is which because there are no words to help you remember. There’s a real dreamy one on the album called “The Milky Way,” and that is kind of the mood of the songs. You’re kind of looking up at the stars. But the song didn’t have a title. I had demoed it and just was calling it by the date I wrote it on. I was struggling with the name and I went into my kitchen and we keep a little candy jar for the kids and I reached in and pulled out a candy bar and it said “Milky Way” on it. I thought, that songs kind of sounds like you’re looking up at the stars. So I guess I named it after a candy bar. Then “Fuzzbuster” is an up-tempo rockin’ song that sort of sounded like driving music. So I thought about the fuzzbuster up on the dashboard of your car to tell you where the po-po are. “Front Street Freeze” is one where a little more thought went into that. Front Street is of course the Memphis thing and the backing of that song is probably the most Booker T influenced song. But the freeze part comes from Albert Collins. He was the iceman so he named his songs the freeze or thaw out, or frosty or ice cone. So it’s a combination of Albert Collins and Booker T and the MGs.


This record is out on your own label, Heartfixer. What made you decide to go into the record business?

I’ve been with a lot of different labels over the years. Landslide Records in Atlanta. Alligator two go-rounds. I did one album for Capricorn records back in the 1990s. Some of my musician friends helped me get a deal with them and that was a great opportunity. Of course the record company went out of business. And Tel-Arc as well. I can’t forget them. Gosh, I’ve had a lot of labels. I’ve learned a lot from each of them. I’ve been with, probably Michael Rothschild at Landslide and Bruce Iglauer at Alligator probably are my two mentors in the record business. I wanted to give it a shot, give it a try. This is a quirky, kooky little album anyway. If it doesn’t work out I can always blame it on that. I’m learning a lot and starting to see things from the record company’s point of few, which I never did before. Every trip to the post office I make, every time I put my credit card in that postage machine I start to see things from the record company’s point of view.

Tinsley Ellis

Is there anything you want to tell us about the particular guitars you used, just for the gear –nuts out there?

 Oh yeah! Well, there’s three guitars used mainly on it. I used a 1959 rosewood Fender Strat. And you can definitely hear that on the first three songs of the album. Then on some of the songs I used a Les Paul on some of the more rock songs. Then I used a 1967 Gibson ES345 on some of the, I guess to describe them I’d say the bluesier songs on the album—the two cover songs and the Chuck Berry tribute because that’s the kind of guitar he used. There’s not a lot of pedals involved, though I did play through a Leslie cabinet. You can hear that on the opening track to hear that spinning sound. I recorded the whole album through one little Fender amp, a little small Fender deluxe reverb amp. Usually I use something larger like a Fender super or a Marshall. But this was recorded through a little amp. I found that I could really crank it up and it would give me the overdrive and the distortion that I usually use a pedal for. I’d like to think there are more pure guitar tones on this album than I’ve ever done. I think tone is one thing you really need when you’re doing an instrumental, to be conscious of the melody and the tone.



You don’t use a lot of pedals normally, do you?

No. There is wah-wah on one song, “Fuzzbuster.” I try to make it something unique that doesn’t sound like somebody else that maybe got famous doing it, using a certain kind of pedal. I try to use oddball vintage effects like the tape echo unit or the Leslie cabinet. I try to use them sparingly because you can get carried away with it, that’s for sure. The amp did me right. Oddly enough it just doesn’t have enough power to use in a live concert. I use a 1967 fender super reverb amp [in concert].


Who else is in your touring band right now?

I’ve got JJ Boogie. He had been playing with Arrested Development. Now he’s my drummer. He was their guitar player, so we’re talking about a real musical guy. He’s a hip-hop engineer as well, and has mixed several big hip-hop records, including Arrested Development albums. So I’ve got a couple of really musical cats with me and it’s really inspiring, doing the trio thing.


Editor’s Note: Portions of this interview originally appeared in Living Blues magazine.


For more information on Tinsley Ellis: http://www.tinsleyellis.com/

Gov’t Mule (w/ Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen), 10/17/12

Written By Honest Tune & David Shehi/ Photos By Brad Kuntz


Gov’t Mule (with Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen)
Georgia Theatre
Athens, GA
October 17, 2012



Leading up to the release of The Georgia Bootleg Box, the recently released six disc set that takes fans back to a three night run across Georgia in 1996, Gov’t Mule celebrated with similar run, with one being held at the same venue, as it was way back when. That one was this night at the historic Georgia Theatre that, though recently restored and quite a bit nicer than it was in ’96, still holds that certain degree of special that can only be felt, not explained. (The other two stops were at Atlanta’s Tabernacle, as opposed to the Roxy in ’96, and Macon’s Cox Capitol Theatre, as opposed to Elizabeth Reed Music Hall in ’96.)

Warming up the night was the pharaoh himself, Col. Bruce, who served up a  plentiful, even if a bit too short, set filled with soul-stewed Zambi alongside his kitchen stewards, that continues to include the blistering slide work from A.J. Ghent.

To thunderous applause, The Mule took the stage, thoroughly demonstrating what 18 years does for  a band’s musical maturation. Needless to say, many of the faithful recalled the days of Allen Woody, the eternal Mule bassist who co-founded the band with front man, Warren Haynes, as an Allman Brothers side project, and was as responsible for The Mule’s sonic foundation as was Haynes. (Woody passed away in 2000)

As many suspected, the night saw Bruce Hampton rejoin the stage alongside the aforementioned Ghent and another guest, Ike Stubblefield, to close things out during an encored offering of “Spoonful.” (Stubblefield and Ghent also guested during the soul and R&B classic, “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”)

For Honest Tune‘s part, Brad Kuntz was on the scene to bring back the photo report.






Gov’t Mule


I: Dixie Peaches Jam > Temporary Saint > Gameface > Mountain Jam > Gameface > Trane > Eternity’s Breath > St. Stephen Jam > Presence of the Lord, Don’t Step on the Grass Sam, Birth of the Mule, Banks on the Deep End, Time to Confess

II: Goin’ out West > Bang A Gong > Goin’ out West >  Gonna Send You Back to Georgia, Beautifully Broken, Forevermore, I’m a Ram, Feel Like Breaking up Somebody’s Home*, Mule > Whole Lotta Love > Mule

Encore: Spoonful**

* w/ AJ Ghent and Ike Stubblefield
** w/ Col. Bruce Hampton, AJ Ghent, and Ike Stubblefield


Download an audience recording of Gov’t Mule’s set, HERE

(Includes Warren & Matt Abts’ rooftop set that preceded the show)


Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen


Fixin’ to Die, Feelin’ Good, Midnight Walker, Aint’ Nothin’ You Can Do, Surrender, There Was a Time, Right Now, Pharaoh’s Kitchen, I’m So Glad


Download an audience recording of Col. Bruce’s set, HERE


Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz





[CONTEST] Day 1: Warren Haynes Wednesday — Enter Here
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[VIDEO|INTERVIEWS|NEWS|PHOTOS] Col. Bruce update: Reads Sling Blade script, talks Basically Frightened and ABB Beacon
[CONCERT REVIEW|PHOTOS] Panic warms up home with Wood at the Tabernacle
[FEATURE|CONCERT REVIEW|PHOTOS] Christmas Jam 23: The Formula Changed, but the Tradition Remains
[CONCERT REVIEW|PHOTOS] A new breed of Mule in Memphis
Going in motion with Warren Haynes : An Honest Tune Interview




Col. Bruce update: Reads Sling Blade script, talks Basically Frightened and ABB Beacon

It is always a pleasure to sit down for a chat with Col. Bruce, but on the rare occasion when he gives the “go ahead” to hit record on a video camera, it is extra special because it allows others in on the conversations.

On this particular night, after many months (or even a year) of promising to bring him one of Robert Duvall’s original Sling Blade scripts for his perusing, memory served on the way out the door and the Colonel was overjoyed to the point that he took to portraying his role in the film, Morris.

Morris was Doyle Hargrave’s (played by Dwight Yoakam) band manager in the film and though his time on the film was unfortunately brief, the role was as memorable as any and the lines that Bruce reads in the video below (for the first time in 17 years) were some of the most memorable in the entire film.

While camera ready, he goes on to talk Basically Frightened, the biopic that features footage from throughout Hampton’s life and interviews with virtually every living notable who has come into contact with their hero and was released to the masses at the Atlanta Film Festival and will be shown next in Marietta, GA on 7/21/12 at The Strand Theatre.

Fiinally, he talked briefly about stepping in at the Beacon during the recent Allman Brothers run. Ever humble, he turned the camera to his latest prodigy, the incredible A.J. Ghent, who blew our mind in Gadsden and in Atlanta with Leftover Salmon.



Col. Bruce Hampton: Video Update (Honest Tune Exclusive)

 For more on Col. Bruce, head to www.ColBruce.com



Col. Bruce Hampton & The Pharaoh Gummitt, 3/22/12

Col. Bruce Hampton & The Pharaoh Gummitt
Mexicali Live
Teaneck, NJ
March 22, 2012



Col. Bruce has been a busy guy here lately. First of all, the much anticipated documentary on the mysterious marvel of Zambi origin, Basically Frightened, is officially set to be seen outside the confines of a laptop sitting beside the Col; having debuted on March 30 at the Atlanta Film Festival. Second of all, he is fresh off of a guest spot with the Allman Brothers, where he, among others, stepped up in an attempt to fill in for fallen leader Gregg who had to sit out for the band’s 3/25 Beacon performance due to a slipped disc. As a side note, he vocally crushed the perfectly picked number for his voice, Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful.”

Having played a musically paternal (or crazy uncle) role to two shining Allman stars, Oteil Burbiridge and Derek Trucks, who credits Hampton with being the sole reason for why he stayed in music, it was no surprise that a Pharaoh Gummitt gig was scheduled to coincide with the aforementioned ABB Beacon run. Many do it. Amongst others including Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, Duane Trucks, who also drums in Bruce’s Pharaoh Gummitt and Quark Alliance, scheduled a show with his new project, Flannel Church, as well. It keeps the party rolling long into the night and far beyond Beacon quitting time.

In tow with Bruce and The Pharaoh players on their rare trip to the Garden State was a special guest guitarist, Will Bernard.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Vernon Webb…

(Vernon’s photography on Facebook)



Life Improvised: An Honest Tune Interview with Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (VIDEO)

Sitting down with Bruce Hampton is one of the most enjoyable occasions one can fathom. He is genuine, funny and affable. But underneath it all is a surplus of wisdom and insight that when spoken, often results in double takes and in what Susan Tedeschi refers to as being “Hampmotized.”

Bruce’s accolades are deep. Beyond his own musical abilities, his eye for others’ talent is one from which Berry Gordy could learn. His peers praise him at every opportunity and often without mention. Derek Trucks credits him with being the primary reason that he stuck with music. Billy Bob Thornton (who cast Bruce in Sling Blade) perks up and straightens his posture at the mere mention of his name. Phish, Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews never missed a set by Bruce’s most known ensemble, Aquarium Rescue Unit, during the seminal H.O.R.D.E. tours of the early 1990s.

But the best part is that none of this seems to matter to him; and if it does, one would never know it by looking or talking to the inherently humble Zambi practicing Hampton.

While aboard Jam Cruise 10, Bruce invited David Shehi into his cabin for a chat and David clicked the camera on when Bruce said he would do something that is rare at best — play an acoustic guitar, improvising a number just for the fun of it.  Not one who is entirely in love with on camera interviews, he allowed the camera to roll and the two converse on topics as broad as relationships and Egyptian numerics and as narrow as concert behavior and Super Bowl predictions.

So sit back, relax and take a trip to Zambiland as we present Life Improvised: An Honest Tune Interview with Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. 



For more on col. Bruce, log on to www.ColBruce.com


On the Jam Cruise Scene with Keller, Anders, Col. Bruce, PGroove, 7 Walkers, Railroad Earth & John Oates

Over the years, we at Honest Tune have tried repeatedly to depict what happens year after year on the Cloud 9 annual adventure, Jam Cruise. We have shown photos, written lengthy reviews, gotten Grace Potter to tell sordid tales, and Greensky Bluegrass to admit to making a sprint out of a marathon. Yes, there is nothing quite like the boat.

Even with all of these previous attempts, we are back again. This time, with more photos (in addition to the photos that came out a couple of weeks ago) as well as a video with interview snippets from Col. Bruce, Keller Williams, Perpetual Groove’s Adam Perry and Albert Suttle, Papa Mali, Bill Kreutzmann, Railroad Earth & virgin cruiser, John Oates.

Intermingled with scene footage taken while aboard the ship as well a portion of an an exclusive acoustic performance of “Summertime in New Orleans” by Anders Osborne and a beautiful Irish folk violin outro provided by Tim Carbone, if this doesn’t bait you out to the high seas next Jam-uary, nothing will. So… if you were there, relive the experience. If you weren’t, watch and get your booty on the boat in 2013!   



Jam Cruise scene

w/ Keller, Col. Bruce, PGroove,

7 Walkers, Oates, Railroad Earth & Anders Osborne

(Be sure & scroll down for photos from Zach Mahone)


For more on Anders Osborne: http://www.andersosborne.com

For more on Perpetual Groove: http://www.pgrooove.com
For more on the 7 Walkers: http://www.7walkers.com

For more on John Oates: http://www.johnoates.com
For more on Railroad Earth: http://www.railroadearth.com

For more on Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.: http://www/colbruce.com
For more on Keller Williams: http://www.kellerwilliams.net


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from Jam Cruise by Zach Mahone




Holiday Hootenanny w/ Col. Bruce, Jeff Sipe, Count M’Butu and more, 12/18/11

Atlanta’s Holiday Hootenanny
Variety Playhouse
Atlanta, GA
December 18, 2011


Last Sunday night, the Variety Playhouse stage was as reminiscent of Col. Bruce Hampton’s infamous Zambiland days as it has been in quite some time. Though a few essential ingredients were not present in the orchestra, namely Jimmy Herring, the event that was billed as Atlanta’s Holiday Hootenanny contained many players that made up the old — and much reminisced over — ensembles of days past.

More or less, it was a session of improvisation — most of whom were Atlanta natives — with many conductors that was constantly anchored by Ted Pecchio and Jeff Sipe. Throughout the night, the stage welcomed many, including: Jeff Sipe, Count M’Butu, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Jimmy Hall, Tommy Talton, Ike Stubblefield, Yonrico Scott and many more.

Musically solid, though completely unrehearsed, there were many highlights; but the most unexpected was two teenage players that Hampton brought onto the stage that blew the roof off of the Variety. And so it goes, Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. still has a keen of an eye for talent as he ever has.

Ian Rawn was there to capture the evening’s occurrences through his lens.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the Hootenanny by Ian Rawn