Gregg Allman haunts your ears.
Theres something quintessentially blues about Allmans growl of a voice. Not blues-y or blues-ish, but blues. He does it justice on Low Country Blues, released Tuesday.
But his voice is just the vessel for yearning desperation and seething emotion the other half of the art form.
Allman is 63 and sounds no older than he does on Whipping Post. Hes gruff and memorable on Low Country Blues, a soulful collection of legendary classics sung with personal pain and infused with piano, twang and horns that carry the Americana musician to the end of the disc.
Allman takes on tunes from some of the best in the game Muddy Waters and B.B. King and some of the best but unrecognized Little Milton and Amos Milburn. And he makes them his. Allmans voice is just as at home in Devil Got My Woman as it is in Floating Bridge.
The only time Allman sounds out of place is during the crooning Please Accept My Love. Its interesting to hear him tackle, but doesnt stick with you.
Much of the disc is upbeat, tempered by the slower Tears, Tears, Tears and Blind Man, in which Allman, perhaps ironically, channels the style of the great late Ray Charles. These slower, drawn out tracks dont detract from the album as a whole but add to its well roundedness.
The most interesting track is Just Another Rider, solely because its the albums only original song. Written alongside Allman Brothers Band mate Warren Haines, it has to be a nod to Midnight Rider. Allman sounds most familiar here in the ghostly track that evokes a rebel-on-the-run, just as its prequel does: Watching the world passin you by / Telling everybody that you done been cursed / Tell them all how you try, try, try / But your luck keeps gettin worse / Seems like such a long, long time / Since youve had, a little piece of mind / Just another rider on a train to nowhere.
One of the best parts of Low Country Blues is hearing Allmans gumbo blues sound interact with producer T-Bone Burnett to form a warm, full record. The musicality teams with fodder from Allmans personal, melodiously indulgent trip to age 63, producing one of Allmans best solo projects yet.