By Josh Bell
Gregg Allman has lived through enough to account for several lifetimes, so it’s no surprise that his 2012 memoir is titled My Cross to Bear. The co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band (with his late brother, guitarist Duane Allman), Allman has endured tragedy (including the deaths of Duane and fellow bandmate Berry Oakley), drug addiction, health problems and six divorces, and yet he’s come out on the other side with one of the most acclaimed musical careers of all time.
Allman is still going strong despite all he’s been through, and his difficulties inform his gritty, bluesy rock music, both with the Allman Brothers and solo. Allman’s most recent solo album, 2011’s Low Country Blues, features covers of blues classics from the likes of B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Bobby “Blue” Bland. All Music called the album “Allman’s best and surely most focused and cohesive solo release.” As good as his newer solo material may be, Allman created his most enduring work with the Allman Brothers, songs like “Whipping Post” and “Ramblin’ Man.” Even without his usual bandmates, Allman is still a formidable keyboardist, and he’s apt to jam with whomever happens to be onstage with him.
In the end, after all the hardship and struggle, Allman is all about the music. His tragedies may be his cross to bear, but the music they inspire is the audience’s to cherish.