At its 10th annual ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium on October 13, the Americana Music Association awarded Gregg Allman with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. “When he sings we are given a glimpse of his soul,” Keb Mo said when presenting Allman with the award, adding, “Gregg Allman has held the torch for traditional soul and the blues with his music.” Allman humbly accepted and thanked his 94-year-old mother as well as the Allman Brothers, “those with us and those not.” He later went on to perform “Melissa” to a thunderous standing ovation.
Earlier this year, Rounder Records released Allman’s triumphant and universally acclaimed Low Country Blues, which Rolling Stone called an “eerie pleasure” in its lead review, and the Los Angeles Times called “haunting” and “harrowing.” Low Country Blues was the first solo record in 14 years for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame legend, and it gave him his highest chart position ever when it debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200. T Bone Burnett produced the album at his Village Recorder studio in Los Angeles, and it features Dr. John on piano, guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, and Burnett’s brilliant go-to rhythm section: bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Jay Bellerose.
The media reaction to the exceptional Low Country Blues has been and continues to be incredible. USA Today hailed, “T Bone Burnett’s retro rustic production provide a sumptuous sound, but it’s Allman’s scarred croon that elevates Low Country.” In their feature, The Sunday New York Times noted that, “where the Allman Brothers is sprawling and expansive, this music is intimate, tightly focused, carefully arranged but never stiff,” while the Wall Street Journal concluded, “Mr. Allman has earned his stripes as a blues man.” The Washington Post said the record’s songs “testify to both the durability of deep, down-home blues and to how completely the Brothers’ keyboardist and lead singer has made them his own,” while the Boston Globe said that “at 63, Allman is scaling new peaks.” Allman appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman as well as A&E’s Private Sessions, and was featured in a lengthy segment on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Morning Edition.
As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and in his own solo career, Allman has long been a gifted natural interpreter of the blues. His soulful and distinctive voice is one of the defining sounds in the history of American music. Low Country Blues finds him putting his own stamp on songs by some of the blues giants whose work has long informed his own, from Muddy Waters and BB King to Buddy Guy and Magic Sam.