In Memoriam

I was sitting on the porch today enjoying the beauty of the Memorial Day sunshine, when my mom came out to tell me some disheartening news.  A member of our family had passed away; or so it  seemed. Gregg Allman has always been a part of our lives, and to hear of his passing, does create a void in a way. Now I can’t claim to be an Allman Brother’s fan. My father will tell you I have spent most of my life rolling my eyes at him, whenever he begins reveling in the grovel of Gregg’s voice or the 15 minute drum solo of Jaimoe, which my brother and I loving know as “Gregg’s bathroom break.” But, even if we couldn’t quite appreciate or understand Gregg’s music while we were growing up listening to Britney Spears or Eminem,  I can honestly look back and see that Gregg, the Allman Brother’s, and my dad’s love for them, has changed my life.

While each generation finds its own unique sound, I believe that it is the music that our parent’s expose us to from a young age, that truly helps root our appreciation of music and  the genre’s that we will most gravitate to. As mentioned, I was a 90’s baby’s with bubble gum pop ruling my record choices for a good portion of my early years. However, my dad never let us get into the car without listening to at least one of his songs first. “One song, and then you can have control of the radio,” he would promise. Of course it would always be an Allman Brother’s song, which was 10+ minutes long and we would get to where we were going just as the song was finishing! As much as this begrudged us at the time, our exposure to musicians playing instruments and songwriting that had deeper meaning than the puddly pop we were indebted to, was a blessing. It may have taken a while for me to come around, but by the time I was heading into high school, I had come to discover my own rock legends  and delve more into classic rock music.

For me it was and will probably always be Fall Out Boy. My brother passed down a burned copy of their Take This to Your Grave album, and from the moment I heard “Saturday” my music bubble, in which I only listened to Top 4o, was  shattered. I soon was intrigued to learn more about Fall Out Boy’s influences and what musicians inspired them.  I soon was rediscovering and truly appreciating the music that my parents had always had on in the background. Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Neil Young, Bob Seger, and most notably the Beatles.  I even ended up writing my college entrance essay about The Beatles. An essay about how much they impacted me, and how all the music of my parent’s generation influenced me. All the music,  I thought, but the Allman Brothers, which I did in fact bring up in the essay. I still felt that I couldn’t quite connect with Gregg. But, the universe was determined to never let the Allman Brothers get too far away from me, even as I journeyed into adulthood. When I first met my college advisor, he mentioned, I gathered jokingly, that the only reason I got into the school was that the essay mentioned his favorite band. “Oh yeah, the Beatles,” I thought.  Nope! The Allman Brothers, even if it was a line about how I didn’t care for them, he was at least proud that I knew who they were.

Gregg’s passing is truly the end of an error in this household.  I doubt that his music will die out with him, and I in fact am fully prepared to hear his music coming from my Dad’s speakers in an incessant celebration of his life  for the next few days, but it does mean the end of my dad and his 4 brothers donning their Eat a Peach shirts and heading out for the umpteenth time to go see Gregg in concert, and the pure joy that comes along with that. I know this will  hurt, because if my crying at coming within inches of Andrew Mcmahon at a recent show is any indication, I know how awesome it feels to see your idol in concert.

So rest easy Gregg,  they will never catch the Midnight Rider, and they will never be able to find a musician who can fill your shoes.

 

 

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Its Record Store Day!

Hi everyone!

Its National Record Store Day! So, of course, what a great time to enjoy some vinyl!

Today is all about going out and supporting your local “record” store. The term is used lightly of course, because many people today have forgone their record players for more tech savvy devices, but even if you are in the market for CD’s instead of vinyl, try shopping local at a music store rather than a big box store, or virtually through itunes. You will probably discover that it is a lot of fun to browse through and that the people working there are very helpful and enthusiastic! My favorite is Bull Moose, which is a locally owned chain of stores that are spread out over New England. They are absolutely great if you are in the market for vinyl, but they also carry a wide variety of CD’s, books, DVDs, and tchotchke. You can check them out at bullmoose.com

Moving on to the music!

The weather has finally warmed up here in New England and what better way to enjoy it, then to ride around with the windows down listening to a great soundtrack. So I thought it only appropriate to bring you a song that you could do that to! Also, its about high time I bring you some Allman Brothers music, as my dad and his brothers are pretty adamant that they are the greatest band of all time, and their devotion to the band really knows no bounds.  I, being a typical bratty child, chose to ignore The Allman Brothers every time my dad would put them on in the car, because when you are 8 years old and your parents want you to listen to their music,  you have no other option but to write it off as old, out dated, and all together un-hip and un-cool (Backstreet Boys were clearly much more of musical geniuses! Pssh!).  But now, I have grown much wiser in my scope of music knowledge and while recording this track today, which can often be written off as more of their “made for radio” tracks, I discovered that the rest of the album was actually very good as well.

Today’ track comes off of The Allman Brother’s Brothers and Sisters album which was first released in 1973. It was written by the guitarist Dickey Betts, which my dad gave me the shrug of iffyness (come on, you all know the “eh” shrug!) because apparently the best Allman Brother’s songs are Greg Allman songs. My dad, and wikipedia, explained that this song, and many of Betts’s songs were more country inspired. This made the band somewhat reluctant to record the track. But, sometimes a wrong idea makes a right, as the track went on to be The Allman Brother’s only top 10 hit, peaking at number 2. A rough draft of the song was tossed around during the recording of their Eat a Peach album, but it wouldn’t be finished in it’s entirety until later, although apparently when it did come together, it was rather quickly

I wrote “Ramblin’ Man” in Berry Oakley‘s kitchen [at the Big House] at about four in the morning. Everyone had gone to bed but I was sitting up-One Way Out: The Inside History of The Allman Brothers Band
(Paul, 2014)

So today I hope this track inspires you to get into your car and drive to your local record store. If you do not have a record player, I highly encourage you to find your parent’s (or grandparent’s!) beat up old turn table, or buy your own new one, and start your own journey into music awesomeness. Even if you are more of a new school music fan, there are plenty of artists releasing some really cool limited edition copies of their music on vinyl.  And of course, enjoy Ramblin’ Man! 🙂