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The Family Secret – Oteil and the Peacemakers

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In the liner notes of Oteil Burbridge's musical excursion away from the
Allman Brothers Band, he answers an interviewer's question with "Most
were written because I was in some kind of dark mood." Obviously, creative
outlets such as songwriting, recording and performing live are very good
therapies for Burbridge. That's exhibited on The Family Secret, an
that finds him joined by a contingent of sympathetic players that aid in
creating a vibrant set of tunes.

Burbridge also notes that "Check Yourself" was written for ABB but not
used. While that song sounds as if Warren Haynes could wrap his vocal chords
around it, he should have handed in "Too Many Times." Here's holding out
that one of these days the members of ABB tackle that number. This is to
nothing away from the vocal duties and co-writing of Paul Henson; just that
one can imagine Haynes making his imprint on the track.

The album's mood is set from its opening track, "Too Many Times". The
mastering was done lower than normal, and consequently creates an
atmosphere of some late night music with the lights turned down low, beer in
hand. It's as much about chilling out, production-wise, as it is about jazz
and jamband in its sharp exploration of the melodies. Burbridge and company
move back and forth between vocal and instrumental
numbers, but the intent is clear — crisp interplay rules each track with
weaving of bass/guitar/drums/violin/keyboards.

Only on the album's closing number, Burbridge's take on "America the
Beautiful" does he fly solo. His version remains true to the spirit of the
previous 10 songs yet it harbors a solemn post-9/11 outlook that mourns the
dead while, tentatively, looking towards the future with a cautious

Right now, Allman Brothers fans can go out and purchase the band's
latest studio release, but they'd be doing themselves a disservice if they
didn't spend a few more bucks for The Family Secret.

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