The Word from Wanee
Despite the absence of Gregg Allman, the Wanee Music Festival took place as planned over the weekend in Live Oak, FL. The weekend-long event featured a number of entertainers associated with the Allman Brothers Band, including Govt Mule, Oteil & the Peacemakers, Scrapomatic, Devon Allmans Honey Tribe and a special midnight set from Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschis Soul Strew Revival. The festival also featured marquee appearances from a number of other acts, including Bob Weir & RatDog, moe., The Levon Helm Band, Larry McCray, the Del Coury Band, Greyboy Allstars, PBS and Junior Brown, among others.
For many, the weekends highlight was a Wannee Family Jam that was held in place of the Allman Brothers Bands Saturday performance. The night opened with a fitting version of Mountain Jam that featured all the currently active Allman Brothers minus Gregg, as well as Derek Trucks Band keyboard Kofi Burbridge and Greyboy Allstars organist Robert Walter, before the ensemble slipped into Who To Believe. Soon after, JJ Grey took command of the microphone for a version of It Stoned Me, while Inca Maya’s Matt Grondin, longtime ABB auxiliary saxophonist Ron Holloway and DTB percussionist Count MButu joined in for the The Same Thing. The members of the Allman Brothers Band cycled on and off the stage throughout the night, with the exception of Warren Haynes, who remained in place to anchor the guest-heavy set. Bob Weir, Haynes, Mule bassist Andy Hess, MButu, Holloway, Kofi Burbridge (this time on flute), DTB drummer Yonrico Scott and a number of other guests also contributed to a mammoth reading of All Along the Watchtower, before Weir, Haynes, moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey, Susan Tedeschi and others dipped into Sugaree.
Other highlights included a version of Good Morning Little School Girl enhanced by Karl Denson, RatDog guitarist Mark Karan-Guitar and DTB bassist Todd Smallie, a countrified Come Into My Kitchen with special guests Del McCoury Band and the final portion of Mountain Jam, which dipped into Dazed and Confused. For an encore, Denson and PBS both emerged for a funky Fire On The Bayou. Though the ensemble largely shied away from Gregg Allmans trademark vocal songs, Devon Allman did front his fathers band on his signature Midnight Rider.
As expected, a number of other collaborations took place throughout the weekend. On Friday, Govt Mule brought out several surprise performers during its headlining set: Randall Bramlett played saxophone on both 32/20 Blues and Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys (a number he is familiar with thanks to his work with Steve Winwood), JJ Grey sat in on
Smokestack Lightning, Larry McCray played guitar on That’s What Love Will Make You Do and McCray and drummer Jimmy Fadden appeared on It Hurts Me Too. Recalling their recent collaborations at New York venues like the Beacon and B.B. Kings, Haynes and Mule keyboardist Danny Louis tackled some tunes with Levon Helm, while Grey & MOFRO brought out Matt Grondin from Inca Maya and The Legendary JC’s Chris Bell on Got My Mojo Working. On Saturday Karl Denson also participated in Trucks and Tedeschis Midnight Jam.
Allman is said to be recovering and plans to tour with the Allman Brothers Band this August.