Devon Allman, singer/songwriter/guitarist and son of Gregg Allman, debuted his new band, The Devon Allman Project, at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA on Friday night. The evening was a double celebration as it was also the birthday of the late Gregg Allman. Following the opening performance from Duane Betts, son of original ABB guitarist/singer/songwriter Dickey Betts, the Devon Allman Project took the stage for the headlining set.
From there, the show continued for the “special guests” portion of the evening, with bassist Berry Oakley Jr., son of original ABB bassist Berry Oakley, Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), and keyboardist Peter Levin (Gregg Allman Band) holding it down with the core band. Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Robert Randolph, Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie, Jeff Beck, Hank Williams Jr.), Brooklyn Allman, G. Love, Ben Sparaco, Alex Orbison, and Johnny Stachela all traded places throughout the evening, playing through several Allman Brothers Band classics.
Thursday night at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier, guitarist Duane Betts and his fellow Pistoleers guitarist Johnny Stachela joined the rhythm section of Gov’t Mule- drummer Matt Abts and bassist Jorgen Carlsson- forming the quartet, Bando. Throughout the summer, the historic ocean boardwalk hosts free Thursday night concerts on its planks. With an empty post-holiday date on the calendar, Rusty’s offered its own free show, bringing the four together for this unique one-off. Bando played a near two-hour set mostly of covers, ranging from Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones to a pair of classics from The Allman Brothers Band. Betts and Stachela alternated vocals much of the night, with Stachela taking on Hendrix with “Spanish Castle Magic” and several blues standards, while Betts offered the Stones’ “Silver Train” and two originals, including “Taking Time.” The pair of guitarists extended solos on nearly every entry, including over fifteen-minute versions of the Allman’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and a closing “Whipping Post.”
On this night at the Roxy Theatre, the guitar was king. The six-string summit began early at the famous Sunset Strip venue; the house still filling in as Duane Betts and his Pistoleers took the stage a few minutes past eight o’clock. Tearing into the Rolling Stones nugget, “Silver Train,” Betts and his fellow axe man Johnny Stachela established the proverbial and literal tone right from the drop; blistering guitars and cranked-up amps. Plenty of jams rumbled through the half-hour set, with Stachela shining on slide and Betts driving sweetly melodic through his original “Taking Time,” then as the two paired up for a beautiful rendition of Betts’ father Dickey’s “Blue Sky.” Yet, this was but the thunder before the lightning.
The curtain parted on the North Mississippi Allstars with just the sibling duo of Luther and Cody Dickinson, on guitar and drums respectively, onstage. Luther, working both fretboard and keyboard through a crunching opener that left him with a broken string, seemed positively possessed by the spirit.
Your slide playing is fantastic. You have tone and touch that is hard to come by. If I wanted to learn to play the slide today, where should I start? Who should I listen to?
The first guys that really caught my ear were Duane Allman and Ry Cooder. I love Elmore James. I think Derek Trucks has taken slide guitar beyond the stratosphere. Good intonation is the most important skill when it comes to slide. You have to really develop your ear. The beauty is that without frets the possibilities are infinite. It’s much easier to start with open E or G tunings. You get the nice overtones while you’re developing your right hand technique. It’s nice to play in standard tuning as well because you can just pull out the slide in any song.
Give me one piece of musical advice you would give to a younger version of yourself.
I was fortunate when I was younger that I had good people around me. My friend Ron Rogers taught me a lot about recording guitar and he turned me on to Howlin Wolf and guys like Kelly Joe Phelps when I was getting serious about slide guitar. I always had people pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and explore new music. The best musical advice is to listen to as much good music as you can and study it. It’s amazing how it will find its way into your own playing.
We’re thrilled to announce the upcoming release of the SIDE ONE -EP. This release will coincide with a full album the band is currently working on. The new EP features Johnny Stachela on guitar and lead vocals, Vincent Fossett Jr. on drums, and Sebastian Ciceri on bass and backing vocals. It is produced by Jorgen Carlsson (Gov’t Mule) and recorded by analog engineer Steve Holroyd. The songs are all original and written by Johnny Stachela and Stoll Vaughan. Stay tuned for more!
Johnny Stachela performs an acoustic set opening for Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs ‘sold out’ show at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on July 6th. Jimmy Vivino sat in with Johnny on the last song for a reading of Michael Bloomfield’s “Knocking Yourself Out”. What a night!
The blues is alive and well. We are thrilled to be back at our hometown venue Harvelles with Kirk Fletcher, who is widely considered one of the best blues guitarists in the world. Mr. Fletcher spent 4 years as the lead guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and has toured with other popular artists such as Joe Bonamassa. Do not miss!
We are very excited to team up with Robert Randolph at the Canyon Club on THURS. SEPT 10!
Randolph’s unprecedented prowess on his instrument (pedal steel) garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio.
The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Dr. Agoura Hills CA 28912