Gregg Allman and 'Southern Blood' Make Stunning Chart Debut
SOUTHERN BLOOD, the extraordinary final album from the legendary Gregg Allman, has made a spectacular chart debut, entering the SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #11 after its first week of release. In addition, the acclaimed album arrived at #2 on Billboard's "Americana/Folk Albums," #3 on "Rock Albums," and #5 on "Top Current Albums." SOUTHERN BLOOD is available now from Rounder Records.
SOUTHERN BLOOD is available now at all digital music retailers and streaming services as well the Gregg Allman Official Store. A wide array of limited editions and special bundles are on offer, including digital download, Standard and Deluxe CD, and limited edition heavyweight vinyl and vinyl test presses. For complete details, please visit the Gregg Allman Official Store.
SOUTHERN BLOOD now stands tall among the most acclaimed releases of Allman's brilliant career, with Rolling Stone hailing it as "a moving farewell statement à la twilight masterworks by Leonard Cohen and David Bowie...While SOUTHERN BLOOD is rich with intimations of mortality, it's easygoing too, with a laid-back generosity that recalls Allman's kindest Seventies work." "Even without the obvious gravitas hovering over the project, this is an exceptional work and arguably Allman's finest non-Brothers release," declared American Songwriter. "[SOUTHERN BLOOD] caps a remarkable career in a typically classy and thoroughly refined, unflinchingly personal, fashion." "A fine collection of songs sung by a truly great singer," applauded Exclaim. "Unlike many rockers of a certain age, Allman's voice never faded, and while he may not have been belting these songs out with the usual raw power, his singing is as sweet and soulful as ever." "SOUTHERN BLOOD is the kind of farewell every rock 'n' lifer hopes to make," wrote NPR Music. "But when the fateful hour arrives, few are blessed with both the time and the touch to pull it off." "It's Allman's composition, 'My Only True Friend.' that stands as this album's greatest monument," declared USA Today, further noting "Allman's voice delivers in peak form. If this were the debut of a new singer on the rise, critics would laud his control of nuance, his expressiveness and ability to get inside a lyric. They'd also note the more immeasurable qualities of raw soul and genuine passion." The Independent praised SOUTHERN BLOOD for mining Allman's "weatherbeaten growl for every ounce of melancholy retrospection and road-weary resignation," while Newsweek extolled the album as "spirited, often moving and rooted in the soulful, unmistakably Southern blues-rock fusion that had been his life's work since the twilight of the 1960s."
"Farewell albums from musicians who know they are dying have become a thing of late," wrote the Associated Press. "And Allman's just might be the best of them. [SOUTHERN BLOOD] veers deeply into parting sentiment, but it also reminds us of what a singular talent we just lost when he died in May." SOUTHERN BLOOD is "a record that celebrates an oft-overlooked musician with elegance and style," raved Classic Rock. "It's not often anyone has the (albeit heartbreaking) luxury of being able to map out their own memorial, and Allman leaves us with his head held high and a record of rare beauty."
"Despite its dark subtext, the album isn't mournful in the least," wrote The Daily Beast. "True to its title and cover art (a bridge running through a lush thicket of Spanish moss in Allman's native Savannah), the immaculately produced SOUTHERN BLOOD bursts with rejoiceful soul, gospel, and blues." SOUTHERN BLOOD "has a lean, bluesy persistence," declared New York Newsday. "(Allman's) famously gnarled vocals fit beautifully with a sympathetic band and gospel harmonies on Little Feat's 'Willin' and his own 'My Only True Friend.'" "An excellent record on its own terms," wrote Glide, "(SOUTHERN BLOOD) also compares favorably to (Allman's) famous solo debut, LAID BACK, making the final work of this iconic artist all the more memorable."
As noted, SOUTHERN BLOOD is highlighted by one of the most candid tracks of Allman's long songwriting career, "My Only True Friend," co-written with Gregg Allman Band guitarist/musical director Scott Sharrard. The song premiered earlier this summer exclusively via NPR Music, which raved, "From its stately introduction through a wrenching guitar solo at the close, the track exudes a surefooted classic-rock grandeur we don't hear much anymore. Yet Allman keeps it on an intimate scale...Allman sings like he's confiding to a friend, distilling hours of stock-taking and introspection. He's plainspoken, like always, and his casual air adds disarming resonance to what is clearly a farewell statement." "My Only True Friend" is joined by a powerfully moving official video, streaming now at Gregg Allman's official YouTube channel after its exclusive premiere via Relix.
SOUTHERN BLOOD serves as a remarkable final testament from an artist who never shied away from baring his trials and troubles, happiness and heartbreak, to the world through music. Allman's first all-new recording since 2011's GRAMMY® Award-nominated solo landmark, LOW COUNTRY BLUES, the album is among the most uniquely personal of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's career, an emotionally expansive collection of songs written by friends and favorite artists including Jackson Browne, Lowell George, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn, and Willie Dixon meant to serve as a salutary farewell to his legion of devoted fans and admirers. Allman was assisted in his closing project by manager Michael Lehman and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Don Was, a longtime acquaintance and stanch supporter committed to helping the rock icon actualize his very specific aspirations.
Rich with emotional texture, historical connectivity, and purity of performance, SOUTHERN BLOOD would be a landmark Gregg Allman record under any circumstance, its powerful subject matter and passionate presentation as emblematic an expression of his distinctive art as any prior work in the Allman canon. Though his loss leaves a vast musical space that can never truly be filled, SOUTHERN BLOOD stands tall as an extraordinary valedictory and memorial to a true giant of American music, now and forever.