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Allmans Ready New CD

Album to be band’s first without Betts

The Allman Brothers Band are putting the finishing touches on a new
studio album, which, if it hits a projected March release date,
will be its first in almost nine years. The record will also be the
Allman’s first with a reconfigured lineup that now includes guitar
whiz Derek Trucks instead of original Brother Dickey Betts.

“We’re all real proud of it,” says guitarist Warren Haynes, a
“new” Brother with more than twelve years of service. “The vibe of
making the record — writing the material and putting it together
— was the best that its been in a really long time. Everybody’s
excited and it feels like it’s the best Allman Brothers Band record
in many, many years.”

Haynes co-produced the album with Michael Barbiero (a longtime
collaborator with Haynes’ other band, Gov’t Mule), whose resume
also includes production and mixing duty on albums by Guns n’
Roses, Metallica, Cypress Hill and Blues Traveler. The album, for
which the group is still trying to find a title, will include
covers of the Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone” and Freddie King’s
“Woman Across the River.” Also on the set will be “Rocking Horse,”
a song Haynes co-wrote with Gregg Allman and originally recorded on
Gov’t Mule’s 1995 self-titled debut. Also dusted off was “Mydelle,”
which Haynes co-wrote with ex-Allmans keyboardist Johnny Neel for
the band’s 1990 album, Seven Turns. “Desdemona,” “All
Before My Time,” Firing Line” and “High Cost of Low Living” are
also among the new songs that might be familiar to those who have
caught the band in concert recently.

Though the album represents the first studio fruits from the
Allmans in nearly a decade, the band has hardly been dormant. The
Allmans released a pair of live albums, An Evening With the
Allman Brothers Band: First Set
in 1992 and Second
Set
in 1995. In 2000, the band issued Peakin’ at the
Beacon
, a document of its 2000 residence at New York City’s
Beacon Theater. The group also recently launched a series of
vintage live recordings with American University 12-13-70

on their Allman Brothers Band Recording Company label. The album is
available at Allman shows and through mail order.

As for the new album, the band is hoping the release will
coincide with its 2003 Beacon Theater run. The Beacon dates, like
last year, will be abbreviated compared to some of the month-long
stretches in years past. But the group will still set up shop March
13-15, 17-18 and 20-22. Tickets for the shows went on sale last
week.

After thirty years of service, Betts got his ouster from the
band in May 2000 for reasons specified as “creative differences.”
In addition to Allman, Haynes and Trucks, the current lineup
includes original percussionists Butch Trucks and Jaimoe. The band
suffered a more tragic loss months after Betts’ dismissal when
bassist Allen Woody, also a Gov’t Mule member who joined the
Allmans around the same time as Haynes, died of heart failure.

Haynes and Gov’t Mule have recorded two albums since Woody’s
death, The Deep End, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, which
featured new songs with guest bassists including Flea, Larry Graham
and John Entwistle, as a tribute to Woody. According to Haynes, the
Mule plans to play a few more tour dates with rotating bassists
before moving forward. “As long as we’re promoting the Deep
End
series, then we’ll continue to utilize the other bass
players,” Haynes says. “I’m proud of the way it turned out. It’s
not a tribute in the normal sense of the word, because it’s all new
material. But it definitely honors Allen Woody. But once that’s run
its course, which will be sometime next year, it’ll be time for us
to decide and announce who the new bass player is going to be. When
we do the next official project, it’ll be with the new bass
player.”

In addition to Haynes’ fourteenth annual Christmas Jam — a
December 21st event featuring Bob Weir, Robert Randolph and others
to benefit Habitat for Humanity — Gov’t Mule have set up a pair of
New York City gigs, December 30th and 31st at the Beacon Theater.
In Deep End tradition, Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), George
Porter Jr. (the Meters), Andy Hess and others will divide the
four-string duties.

“It’s been a busy couple of years,” Haynes says. “Between Gov’t
Mule, Phil Lesh and Friends and the Allman Brothers Band, it’s
meant a lot of time on the road. But they’re good years
nonetheless, aside from the obvious tragedies. It’s amazing how
life works that way. Something like losing your best friend can
turn you towards a lot of great things. And you just don’t question
it.”

In This Article: The Allman Brothers Band

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