Duane Betts wanted to show a different side of Florida than the sunshine and palm trees in the new video for “Downtown Runaround,” premiering exclusively below from his debut EP Sketches of American Music.
“I wanted to film it down in Florida, where I grew up in Sarasota, where my dad’s side of the family has lived for a long time,” Betts, the son of and bandleader for Allman Brothers Band co-founder Dickey Betts. The clip mixes performance footage of Betts at the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, N.C., with scenes of him driving a friend’s vintage Buick through a variety of landscapes in the Sunshine State.
“I wanted to show some of the rural landscapes of Florida,” Betts explains, “and I wanted to show some of the grittier side of some of the grittier neighborhoods and kind of keep it real Florida. And I didn’t have to do much; I just had to bear the heat.”
The “Downtown Runaround” comes as Betts is taking pre-orders for limited edition, blue-splatter vinyl versions of Sketches, which came out in April. With the EP, Betts planted a flag for his own music after years of working with his father, as well as a stint touring with Dawes. “I’ve been waiting to do it,” Betts says. “There was a point in time where I didn’t really sing and I was in bands and playing guitar with different people. But once I started getting the hang of it, I had my songs and I could sing them, it was kind of like, ‘OK, I need to do this.'” Betts has also been touring with Gregg Allman’s son Devon and his band, and the two have formed their own band that will start to record an album in Muscle Shoals during late November for release — and touring — next year.
“We’ve written at least a dozen songs,” says Betts, who also brought his regular collaborator Stoll Vaughan into the mix. “We’re gonna go in and record and just get what we can and see what we have and if we need to write something more. When we record the first few and look at what we have it’ll be pretty apparent what we don’t have.” Betts also anticipates having some guests on the album, “but not too many. Maybe one or two, but not on every song or anything. Just a couple who really add to the story.”
Meanwhile, Betts also hopes to make a full-length album of his own down the road. And he’s waiting for his father to recover from brain surgery after an accident in his Sarasota home during August. “He’s doing really well,” Betts reports. “He’s a work in progress, but he’s all there, mentally. It’s a really good prognosis. When he came out of surgery he was joking about, ‘Why did you cancel my gigs I had coming up?!’ to his manager. So he’s in a very positive frame of mind and very motivated. He may still play again. We’ll just have to wait and see.”