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Published: 2017/05/29

Gregg Allman’s Manager Talks Musicians Final Months

Photo by John Patrick Gatta

Michael Lehman, who has managed Gregg Allman’s solo career since 2004, has commented on his client’s final days. In an exclusive interview with Variety, Lehman, who met Allman through The Who, mentions that he plans to release a slew of archival material, including a 2015 run of shows at New York’s City Winery.

“I would say he knew for the last six months that he was getting toward the end of his life, and he became resolved and peaceful,” Lehman tells Variety. “We cancelled [tour] dates when we had to, but we ended up playing through the end of October — we’d hoped to get through the end of the year but he’d had another bout of pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. But for good or bad, he got to be home and relax, even though his true passion was being on the road. He’d listen to music, read books, see his kids, he got married to Shannon in February so he was able to take advantage of that time with her and being at his house, sitting by the pool, playing with his dogs. And thank goodness he did not suffer at the end, he died peacefully at home.”

Lehman also revealed some new information about _Southern Blood, the solo LP Allman had been working on with Don Was and his solo group at FAME for the past two years. He mentions that Allman’s former roommate Jackson Browne sings on “Song For Adam” and confirms that the collection will mix covers and new, original material.

“It was my goal to make sure it would be a big, special album, even though that it became clear that Gregg wasn’t necessarily going to be able to promote it, even if he was here, and that was something we were going to be prepared for,” his manager says. “He started recording probably a year to two years ago with [producer] Don Was and his solo band, he spent about 12 days at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals [Alabama, where classic songs by Aretha Frankin, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others were recorded; Allman’s bandmate and brother Duane, who died in 1971, played on several sessions there]. His health at the time was okay, he was already struggling a little with the recurrence of his liver cancer. He would have good days and bad days and we worked around it as best we could. Some days were better than others but there were enough takes to make something really special. We documented a lot of the recording sessions, so we have a tremendous amount of video footage and still photography from the sessions. Gregg was so happy to be at such an iconic studio, where his brother had recorded and so much incredible music had been made over the years.

“It’s comprised of a bunch of really cool covers and a couple of original tunes, but I really can’t say much more beyond that,” he goes on to say. “Gregg really wanted to keep [information about the album] tight and I have to respect his wishes — he wanted to surprise his friends and his fans. But I think it’s a record that everyone’s really going to be excited to hear — his vocals are so compelling, and hearing them and knowing where he was in his life’s journey, it’s just chilling, honestly.”

Allman played his final show at Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheatre
on October 29, 2016 as part of his Laid Back Festival. His longtime friend Tommy Talton sat in on “Melissa” and Billy Gibbons appeared on the night’s final selection, “One Way Out.” Oddly enough, The Allman Brothers Band took their final bow on October 29, 2014, the anniversary of Duane Allman’s 1971 passing.

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