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Download Bless Your Heart

by The Allman Betts Band
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2020
  • Tracks: 13
  • Duration: 71:15
  • Size, Mb: 163.89
  • Bitrate: MP3 336

Review

Generational Southern rockers the Allman Betts Band return to the roots-rock well for their second album in as many years. Formed by Devon Allman (vocals, guitar) and Duane Betts (vocals, guitar) to carry the torch lit in the 1970s by their famous fathers, Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts, the new group's prime initiative was essentially to pay direct homage to the Allman Brothers Band's legacy, playing that group's classic material live while writing some new songs of their own in the now-familiar vernacular. To that end, the Allman Betts Band are an absolute success; they made their recorded debut in 2019 with Down to the River, a warmly captured sonic tribute to the Southern-fried blues-rock/country-soul amalgam the original Allmans made famous decades earlier. It was even recorded in glowing analog at Alabama's legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, notable for being one of the Allman Brothers Band's original points of origin. Released one year later, the Allman Betts Band's sophomore LP, Bless Your Heart, follows more or less the same formula as its predecessor. Recorded live to tape at Muscle Shoals, Bless Your Heart is a reliable and often-pleasing romp down the muggy dirt roads of soulful Southern rock that hits its mark squarely without making any real attempts to rock the boat. Given the group's M.O., that's not necessarily a bad thing. Allman, Betts, and bassist Berry Duane Oakley -- son of Allman Brothers Band founding member Berry Oakley and another key player in this mix -- are all fluid, capable musicians with deep knowledge, personal history, and an inherent chemistry well-suited to this type of music. If tracks like "Carolina Song" and "Magnolia Road" sound like not-so-distant echoes of the music their fathers made, then perhaps they are simply doing their heritage a service. Probably the most adventurous cut here is the sprawling 12-minute instrumental "Savannah's Dream" which at times crashes into psych or prog rock -- albeit distinctly Southern, of course -- territory with its nimble arpeggios and near-telepathic trading of licks. Whether or not the Allman Betts Band will make any hard left turns from their chosen path remains to be seen, but two albums in, their dogged adherence to family and cultural traditions remains their defining feature.

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