Rounder Records has announced the release date for Gregg Allman’s final studio album. Southern Blood arrives everywhere on Friday, September 8th. NPR premiered the album’s first song, My Only True Friend.
Southern Blood is available for pre-order now. A special and unique part of the deluxe package and the first run of the vinyl will be the inclusion of a painting that Allman and his daughter, Layla, commissioned from visual artist, Vincent Castiglia. The beautiful portrait Castiglia painted was made with Gregg’s actual blood in the paint. The process served as inspiration for the album title.
Southern Blood serves as a remarkable final testament from an artist whose contributions have truly shaped rock & roll throughout the past four decades. Allman’s first all-new recording since 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated solo landmark, Low Country Blues, the album is among the most uniquely personal of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s career, an emotionally expansive collection of songs written by friends and favourite artists including Jackson Browne, Willie Dixon, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Lowell George and Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn, meant to serve as a salutary farewell to his legion of devoted fans and admirers. Allman collaborated on his closing project with manager and dear friend, Michael Lehman, and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer, Don Was, a longtime acquaintance and staunch supporter committed to helping the rock icon actualize his very specific aspirations.
“As his producer, I was dedicated to helping Gregg crystallize his vision for the record and to help make sure that this vision made it to the tape,” says Was. “He was a musical hero of mine and, in later years, had become a good friend. The gravitas of this particular situation was not lost on me. Gregg was a sweet, humble man with a good heart and good intentions and it was a great honour to help him put his musical affairs in order and say a proper farewell.”
Allman, well aware his time was short, approached the project with an unambiguously realistic agenda. High atop his list of goals was to capture the sound of the ultimate Gregg Allman Band in full flight, considering them the tightest knit combo of all the line-ups that had backed him over his 40+ year solo career. Despite his ongoing health issues, the Gregg Allman Band had picked up right where the Allman Brothers Band left off in 2015, spending nearly two years on the road with tour highlights including the now-annual Allman-curated Laid Back Festival. 2015’s two-disc CD/DVD set, BACK TO MACON GA, immortalized Allman and his eight-member band’s floor-shaking live power but their leader was determined to see what the group could do within the confines of the studio.
“Gregg was very excited to be in the studio,” says Lehman. “He was especially thrilled to be recording this studio album with his solo band – he was so proud of them and loved the sound that they produced together. Gregg felt close to every single one of them. The Gregg Allman Band was like a family or a well oiled machine, always knowing what the other band members were thinking and doing.”
“The Gregg Allman Band enabled him to realize a sound that he’d been hearing in his head for decades but was previously unable to achieve. We talked a lot about his first solo LP, LAID BACK – what would that type of album sound like in the modern era played by these cats and fronted by an older and wiser Gregg Allman?”