By Samantha Errico
March 26, 1969 marked the birth date of the legendary Allman Brothers Band. Fifty years later, the musical legacy is very much alive. To help celebrate the anniversary, the Allman Betts Band, featuring second-generation artists Devon Allman and Duane Betts, is kicking off a mammoth 14-month world tour.
"We certainly grew up around it and fell in love with it the same way that our fathers did," Allman said Wednesday in an interview with Cheddar. "I think it's a pretty natural thing for us to go and do."
Devon is the son of Gregg Allman, one of the band's vocalists and its keyboard player, who died last year. Duane is the son of the Dickie Betts, one of the original guitarists for the band. (The other guitarist, Duane Allman, who died only two years after the Allmans got their start, is Duane Betts' namesake.)
The younger duo's passion for music lives in their blood. But they made it clear that Allman Betts is not a tribute band and that they are making their own path in the industry.
"Pleasing the fans with some [Allman Brothers]\ favorites that they love, but forging ahead and putting our own kind of sound out there," Allman said about celebrating his father.
"At the end of the day, I am honored we can carry a torch, do our thing and carry the legacy," Betts said.
Another musician of the new ABB is Berry Oakley Jr., who is the son of the Allman Brothers original bassist Berry Oakley.
On their mega-tour, the Allman Betts Band will make their way across the United States and parts of Europe, and participate in over 10 different festivals. The inaugural tour will feature new music and songs from their solo projects, as well as a taste of classic Allman Brothers tunes.
"I suggested they get together years ago but they wanted to do individual things and I think they sound wonderful together," Dickey Betts, lead guitarist, songwriter and singer in the Allman Brothers Band told Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Tuesday.
The new band has a debut album, "Down to the River," slated for release at the end of June. In the crowded and diverse music field, Allman and Betts are determined to keep moving people through their tunes.
"You still have to touch people," Allman said, "that's what art does."
Their fathers would certainly agree.