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10 Stunning Gregg Allman Covers by Country Artists

From Chris Stapleton’s “Whipping Post” to Eric Church’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”

Gregg Allman

Country artists from Eric Church to Hank Williams Jr. have covered the songs of Gregg Allman both onstage and in the studio.

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Fans of country music and Southern rock can create an entire playlist of country singers just covering the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider.” The road anthem – written by Gregg Allman, who died Saturday at 69 – has been recorded or performed by everyone from Willie and Waylon to the Zac Brown Band, with Allman himself sitting in. But much of Allman’s catalog has been ripe for country interpretations, with a slew of Nashville stars putting their spin on the Southern rock pioneer’s songs at a 2014 tribute in Atlanta. Here’s 10 of the best country Gregg Allman covers.

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Hank Williams Jr., “Come and Go Blues”

Bocephus gave Allman’s “Come and Go Blues” a slightly down-tempo reading for his 1979 Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound album. But the results were utterly transfixing. Williams liked Allman’s melancholy but rump-shaking composition of blues fusion – originally released on the Allman Brothers Band’s Brothers and Sisters in 1973 – but favored a bit of swampy acoustic funk in his version, over Allman’s piano intro. Williams methodically makes his way through the arrangement, letting a country yodel out periodically to heighten the tune’s more poignant moments. It’s a solemn approach that stands apart from the juke-joint original. 

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Zac Brown Band with Gregg Allman and John Mayer, “Melissa”

Hailing from nearby Macon, Georgia, the Allman Brothers Band are an inevitable cornerstone in the music of Zac Brown Band. The Atlanta natives were lucky enough to share the stage with Gregg Allman on several occasions, including a cover of “Whipping Post” with Vince Gill, but if any song were tailor-made for Brown it’s “Melissa.” Allman and ZBB teamed up to perform the ballad at the Nashville installment of Brown’s Southern Ground Music and Food Festival in 2012, where the understudies didn’t so much make it their own, as inhabit its gentle beauty in harmony with their hero. Even guest John Mayer’s guitar solo was tasteful and reverent.

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Ryan Bingham, “Whipping Post”

When it came to the music of the Allman Brothers Band, it was enough to make even a good country boy go rock & roll. And many a country star still channels their inner Gregg and Duane onstage, more than four decades since some of the Brothers’ songs were written. Among the most covered: “Whipping Post,” which Ryan Bingham does here, bringing the appropriate amount of grit to a mostly faithful rendition. But while Bingham’s version builds into the guitar cataclysm that it was designed to be, he also adds a nice twangy touch with a fiddle solo that ups the intensity.

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Martina McBride with Pat Monahan, “Can You Fool”

Country chanteuse Martina McBride and Train frontman Pat Monahan covering Gregg Allman may not make sense on paper, but the two blended their voices perfectly on “Can You Fool” at the 2014 all-star salute to Allman in Atlanta. Originally released with then-wife Cher in 1977 on the singers’ joint Two the Hard Way album – under the moniker “Allman and Woman” – the ballad and the album itself waxed poppier than much of Allman’s traditional work. Here, Monahan and McBride bring the song back to earth, presenting a soulful take that is more robust and dynamic than the original. 

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