Allman's newest is one of his best

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February is in full swing, and of course I am as sick and tired of this cold, wet and nasty winter as you.

I would almost rather take a nice scenic cruise on the Suez Canal than battle this very unusual Southern weather any longer. I hear Alexandria is just lovely this time of year.

Some soulful rhythm and blues courtesy of the legendary Gregg Allman might just be the solution to these meteorological doldrums.

Low Country Blues, Allman's first solo offering in almost 14 years, was released last month to rave reviews. Eleven covers, including songs made popular by Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland, are right down the middle of Allman's strike zone.

The album's title is a nod and a wink to Allman's current hometown of Richmond Hill, which is smack dab in the Lowcountry near Savannah, Ga.

Thanks to years of clean and sober living, Allman's voice is stronger than a field of kudzu. He underwent a liver transplant in June in his long-term battle with Hepatitis C, and his rich, powerful vocals have returned.

Of course, having the right producer and musicians are a must. T-Bone Burnett, whose work with Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and even the recent collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell have made him the "first chair go-to guy" producer just as ELO's Jeff Lynne was in the '80s and '90s.

Others backing Allman on the disc are Dr. John, Doyle Bramhall ll, and the supertight rhythm section of Dennis Crouch and Jay Bellerose.

Ironically, Low Country Blues is more "laid back" than Allman's first solo album from '73 that bears that very name. The biggest difference in those two discs is that this time around Allman is obviously playing for himself rather than the masses.

It's no surprise, then, to see all of the early Grammy talk in most reviews of this album. First-week sales of the disc were brisk as it debuted at the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Charts, Allman's top-placing solo album ever!

There is no scheduled tour in support of the album as of yet. However, longtime fans of the Allman Brothers are getting ready to hit the road (and note) for their 13-date stand next month at Beacon Theatre in New York City. Check out ABB drummer Butch Trucks' Web site at moogis.com, as all shows will be streamed online again this year.

IF YOU LIKE '60s and '70s pop and rock music, Number 9's Roger Davis, Zach Swenson and yours truly will present Up Close and Impersonal at Le Chat Noir on Eighth Street at 7:30 p.m. March 18-19 and 25-26. These all-ages, no-smoking shows will benefit the CSRA Humane Society, and tickets are available now at CSRAHumaneSociety.org/tickets. There are only 100 seats available per show, so get your tix now and help some very deserving dogs and cats!

LAST WEEK'S CONTEST winner is Jim Hopkins, of Augusta. Jim gets a free oil change and tire rotation from Walker Ford Co. on Walton Way. Ask for Gus at the desk.

TURNER'S QUICK NOTES: The Foo Fighters' seventh and still-untitled album will be in stores in April. Look for a full-length documentary on the band's 16-year career later in the year ... John Mellencamp visits Columbia's Township Auditorium on Feb. 26 ... The Drive-by Truckers have Go Go Boots set for release Tuesday ... Fleet Foxes will play Atlanta's Tabernacle on May 14 in support of their forthcoming and yet-to-be-named second album.

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