Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gregg Allman

The passing of Gregg Allman last month was an epic blow to fans of his music and of The Allman Brothers Band, though perhaps not a complete shock. Plenty of ink has been spent on the singer's health issues over the past decade, but while many fans hoped for the best when he canceled all 2017 tour dates, many read between the lines. After years of battling to stay on the road and burying lost band mates along the way, it is hard to believe anything could stop Gregg Allman from once again climbing the riser to his B3 Hammond Organ and belting some blues for the soul. However, it is comforting to know that Gregg Allman earned some peace towards the end as he retreated to his coastal Georgia home these past final months. Allman Brothers fans found a great deal of solace knowing that Gregg and Dickey Betts had mended fences in those final months.

Laid Back, 1973. Art by Abdul Mati Klarwein
The Allman Brothers may be my favorite band by a long shot, but I don't always get tied into the personalities of the people who make the music I love. But Gregg's music has been huge in my life. I can still listen to his first solo album, Laid Back, as if it were my first time hearing it as I did in 7th grade. I can vividly recall falling asleep to it as a teen on repeat more times than I can count. It is a haunting record, full of melancholy and self-reflection. So when I felt compelled to create an Gregg Allman animation after his passing, that's where I started. I didn't want to make something that commemorated his death, rather, a piece that reflected what that music meant to me. Much of the iconography of his popular songs such as "Dreams" and "Ain't Wasting Time No More" I had previously covered in other animations, so I concluded short and evocative was the way to go. It's not much, but like I said, I felt compelled.

Although the Allman Brothers were nearly 3 years behind us, Gregg was still touring strong and recording - he was the highlight for me of Wanee 2016. However difficult it is to accept for those of us who only knew his music that Gregg Allman is gone from this world, I can only imagine how it is for all those who did know him.

But he will never be completely gone. His music will go on forever.

GREGG ALLMAN | The Road Goes on Forever from Brett Underhill on Vimeo.

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