Devon Allman speaks on new album ahead of Blues from the Top fest
When it comes to music, it doesn’t get much more raw and real than blues, at least in Devon Allman’s opinion.
Allman is the frontman for the Allman Betts Band, one of two headliners at this weekend’s 17th annual Blues from the Top music festival in Winter Park, but he also grew up steeped in blues culture as the son of Gregg Allman, one of the founders of the Allman Brothers Band.
“When you get down to a common denominator of most modern music there’s kind of a blues core at everything because it’s so unpretentious and it tells the tales of woe,” Allman said.
However, any similarities that audiophiles may pick up on are more genetic carry overs than intentional references, Allman said, since his band has cultivated their own unique sound.
“There are slight echoes of the past, but you know, we’re not trying to cop their vibe,” he said. “We’re steeped in the older tradition. Our heroes are the Rolling Stones, Eric and the Dominoes, Neil Young. … We’re an amalgam of everything we grew up on.”
All of that is captured in the Allman Betts Band’s debut album, “Down to the River,” which releases June 28, two days before they play at the Rendezvous Event Center in Hideaway Park on Sunday.
The album also mimics the sound of an old-school recording, because Allman said the band wanted to recreate the same feeling for listeners as they would have listening to a record from 1976. Ultimately, it adds an earthy depth and ambiance to the sound.
Saturday, June 29
11 a.m. – John Nemeth and the Blue Dreamers
12 p.m. – Selwyn Birchwood
1:30 p.m. – Samantha Fish
3 p.m. – The Record Company
4:30 p.m. – Lucinda Williams
Sunday, June 30
11 a.m. – Jimmy Vivino and the Kate Moss 3
12 p.m. – Tinsley Ellis
1:30 p.m. – Danielle Nicole Band
3 p.m. – Robert Randolph and the Family Band
4:30 p.m. – Allman Betts Band
Attendees will have the privilege of being one of the first audiences to hear the complete album live. Allman said he was looking forward to the chance to play in the Fraser Valley again thanks to the obvious community support for music.
“The people are there for the right reasons because they like to support music and the arts and those are the types of people we like to play for,” he said. “It’s a no bulls— vibe and we like that.”
Leading up to the Allman Betts Band performances is a long list of beloved blues artists, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 29. John Nemeth and the Blue Dreamers, Selwyn Birchwood, Samantha Fish and the Record Company play throughout the day leading up to Saturday’s headliner Lucinda Williams.
Williams will be playing the 20th anniversary set for her album “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” which originally released in 1998 and remains Williams’ most popular album.
Taking the stage with the Allman Betts Band on Sunday will be Jimmy Vivino and the Kate Moss 3, Tinsley Ellis, Danielle Nicole Band and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.
The night before the festival audience members can start the party early with the Blues After Dark musical performance at the Headwaters Center in Winter Park at 9 p.m. Friday featuring Mike Zito Big Blues Band and the BB King Horns. Blues After Dark continues after the festival at 9 p.m. Saturday, with another performance by Selwyn Birchwood and John Nemeth and the Blue Dreamers.
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