After taking 14 years between solo albums, Gregg Allman says he can’t wait to do another one.
Allman releases “Low Country Blues” on Jan. 18, featuring 11 blues covers and one original, “Just Another Rider,” he wrote with Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes. But Allman tells Billboard.com that he and producer T-Bone Burnett cut 15 tracks overall, giving him a potential head start on his next venture.
“I’ll tell ya, I can’t wait to get back in there and cut another one,” Allman says. “That would be fine with me. It really would. It seems like every time we do a record it somehow gets your writing juices flowing. That kind of stuff just starts to come forward, so I’m hoping that maybe (for) the next one I can write a bunch of them.”
Allman says the death of longtime friend and producer Tom Dowd in 2002 left him somewhat disinterested in making another solo album. “Tommy Dowd just spoiled all of us,” he explains. But a meeting in Memphis with Burnett at the end of the Allmans’ 2009 summer tour changed his mind.
“One of the first things out of the guy’s mouth was Tommy Dowd — that almost sold me right there,” Allman recalls. “Plus, he was there in Memphis with two architect friends of his and they were measuring the Sun Records building board by board, and he was going to replicate it right next to his house. And I was like, ‘Man, that’s the hippest thing I’ve ever heard!’ So I decided to give it a try.”
Allman and Burnett recorded “Low Country Blues” during late November and early December 2009 at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles, with a band that included Dr. John on piano, Doyle Bramhall II on guitar, Burnett regulars Jay Bellerose on drums and Dennis Crouch on bass, and a horn section arranged and conducted by Darrell Leonard. The songs come from Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Skip James, Junior Wells, Lowell Fulson and others, while Allman and Haynes wrote “Just Another Rider” especially for the album.
“We had been working on it for awhile,” Allman remembers, “and we just happened to finish it right before I had to go out there and do the record. We didn’t really have a lot of big plans for it. It wasn’t tied down to (the Allmans) or my record, but we thought it would go pretty well on the solo record.”
“Low Country Blues” will bring Allman, who underwent a liver transplant on June 23, back on the road with a 13-date tour that begins Dec. 28 in Jim Thorpe, Pa. The Allmans are also set for their traditional Beacon Theatre residence during March in New York City, and Allman says the group will be on the road next summer as well. And playing, he says, “is all in the world I want to do” after the surgery.
“I’m doing much better,” Allman reports. “The road’s a little rougher, but my color’s real good and my energy comes in spurts and, boy, they’re big ones. I dropped a bunch of weight. The first (tour) will be rough, but I’m doing fine. I’m ready to get back to it.”