Recap and photos by Twyla Twang
May 9, 2019

The power trio of JD Simo opened for the Allman Betts Band at the Bourbon Theatre Wednesday, initiating a night full of jam band delight.  Simo’s soulful, strong voice worked magic with the intensity of his rhythm section and echoed in his fine guitar work, including some slick slide solos.  From originals to the R&B standard “Just a Little Bit” and his closing “With a Little Help from My Friends,” Simo showcased his and his band’s impressive chops.

True to the legacy of the Allman Brothers’ roots in psychedelia, a mushroom-dotted backdrop gave the Bourbon crowd a hint of what was in store.  As the stage went dark, The Allman Betts Band took the stage to the opening horns of “Gonna Fly Now” and powered through a two-hour show.  The triple guitar threat from Devon Allman (Gregg’s son), Duane Betts (Dickey’s son), Devon and Johnny Stachela (slide guitar) provided plenty of tasty solos and power chord rhythm.  Bassist Berry Duane Oakley (son of Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley), keyboardist John Ginty and percussionist John Lum rounded out the band.

The band treated the crowd to several songs from their upcoming album, Down To The River, that is due to be released next month.  “Melodies are Memories” was one of the first few songs on their playlist, and the title track “Down To the River” was part of their three-song encore.  The journey between those tunes led the fans into some of Devon Allman’s solo work (“Mahalo”), Allman Brothers’ classics (“Ain’t Wasting Time”, “Dreams” and “Blue Sky”). With all the hard-rockin’, blues-driven jams, the group also were seated for a short and moving set.

Devon brought out his “Buck Owens American” guitar to cover Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky”, changed out to his father’s guitar to sing “Multi-colored Lady”, a song written by his father for his mother, going out to all those who have lost their parents.

After the aforementioned “Down to the River”, ABB surprised the Bourbon crowd by bringing out Gary Hoey, who had performed earlier that evening at the Zoo Bar for “Purple Rain”.  Allman Brothers’ fans and Allman Betts Band fans alike enjoyed a full evening of tasty jams.

Twyla Twang hosts HonkyTonk Heroes every Friday from 9 to 10:30 p.m. as part of KZUM’s Friday Ameripolitan Club lineup.