ENDLESS ROAD: Episode #4

The Last Visit, Saying Goodbye To A Friend & Mentor

Saying goodbye to a friend or loved one with a terminal illness is never easy. Now consider what Scott Sharrard went through as he made what would be his final visit to Gregg Allman’s house. Scott’s trip to see Gregg took place about a month prior to the music legend’s passing. Consider this as well: The first time that Scott had ever seen Gregg in person happened when Scott was just a kid in the crowd at an Allman Brothers concert. Yet, like his final visit with Gregg, that first show was unforgettable. Seeing Gregg and the ABB for the first time, ignited a passion in Scott that helped to inspire him as a musician.

After Gregg welcomed Scott to his solo band, their relationship became one of mentor and protégé. Sharing a common bond for a love of music, Gregg and Scott became close friends and ultimately song-writing partners. As one of the tight circle of people who knew about Gregg’s terminal diagnosis, Scott stood by Gregg on stage and in the studio during the recording sessions for Southern Blood. And, as he visited Gregg for the final time in person, Scott’s focus was simply to ease his friend’s pain during what were the final days of his life. For the story of Scott’s last visit with Gregg, check out the podcast below.

ENDLESS ROAD: Episode #3

How Song For Adam Became Part of Southern Blood
 

The recording sessions for Gregg Allman’s final studio album were almost complete. One song remained, and Scott Sharrard had a feeling that capturing Gregg’s cover of Jackson Browne’s Song For Adam might be a difficult last mountain to climb. Despite recording songs that were drenched in serious content, the Southern Blood sessions at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals had been filled with laughter and great joy. It was the first time Gregg’s final touring band had gathered to record a studio album with him. Other than Scott, none of the band members were aware of Gregg’s terminal diagnosis, and the sessions had been kept upbeat and fun.

However, as Scott shares in this edition of the Endless Road Podcast, Song For Adam dealt with the loss of a life at a young age. Gregg and his best friend, Chank Middleton, had always related the song to the passing of Gregg’s brother, Duane, who tragically lost his life in a 1971 motorcycle accident at the age of 24.

Chank had heard Gregg sing Song For Adam countless times over the years when they would hang out. As the song selection process began for the album, Gregg had marked Song For Adam as one of those to be included on Southern Blood. For the recording session, Gregg had Chank to stand with him on the floor in the studio at FAME for support. Meanwhile, the band had been scaled back to guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.

Scott, in playing guitar for seven hours during the session, knew how much it meant to Gregg to have Song For Adam on Southern Blood. Yet, as Gregg worked his way through the song in the very studio where Duane’s work as a session musician first caught the attention of the music world, the emotions were undeniably powerful. So powerful, in fact, that Gregg’s voice began to tremble in the final verse and faded, leaving the last lines of the song unsung.

Due to his growing health issues, Gregg was unable re-record the vocals and the song would have been lost without the genius of veteran producer Don Was. You can hear Scott recount the story of the Song For Adam sessions by listening to the podcast link.

ENDLESS ROAD: Episode #2

The Story Behind The Writing Of ‘My Only True Friend’
 

Listening to Scott Sharrard tell the story of the process behind bringing My Only True Friend to Gregg Allman’s Southern Blood album, the song represents a fascinating full circle. Consider this: Scott found the initial inspiration for the song within a dream following a late-night writing session with Gregg. Dreams, of course, was the first that captured the attention of the Allman Brothers when Gregg began presenting songs that he had written to the ABB back in 1969.

As Scott shares in this podcast segment, the vivid dream he had that night at Gregg’s house in Savannah featured a conversation taking place between Gregg and his brother, Duane. When Scott shared what he had started writing with Gregg, he was unaware of Gregg’s cancer diagnosis. Over the next two years, the song went through a process of evolution – eventually becoming the first page of the goodbye letter Gregg shared with the world through the Southern Blood album.

Two days stand out as landmark moments in bringing the finalized song to the album. The first happened in New York prior to a writing session when Gregg shared the news of his terminal diagnosis with Scott, who became part of a small circle to know that his mentor and friend had a finite amount of time left on the earth. It was also during this writing session that Gregg played Tim’s Buckley’s Once I Was for Scott.

The final turning point for My Only True Friend took place the night before the song was scheduled to be recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. Throughout the rehearsal process for the song at the studio, Scott could see that Gregg had become frustrated because, in his view, the song was missing something. Marc Quiñones, the long-time percussionist with the ABB who had joined the Gregg Allman Band, suggested that Scott write a third verse for the song to see if that could fill the void for Gregg.

Knowing that it could be a make-or- break moment for a song which would be a vital element in the Southern Blood album, Scott faced down the deadline pressure and created the last verse of the opening song of Gregg’s farewell album. You can hear the story of behind bringing My Only True Friend and Once I Was to the Southern Blood album below.

ENDLESS ROAD: Episode #1

Going Back To Macon & Coming Home To The Big House

Over the past few years, the trips to Macon for Scott Sharrard have become the type of homecoming that warms the heart and lift the soul. Scott, the lead guitarist and musical director for the Gregg Allman Band, will never forget his first visit to the middle Georgia town that the Allman Brothers Band forever etched into the folklore of music history.

An Allman Brothers fan since he initially saw the band at the age of 10, Scott cherished the opportunity to walk through the doors of the Big House Museum for the first time a few years ago. Surrounded by the history of the ABB and the unique memorabilia featured in the Big House, Scott was brought even closer to the music that helped to inspire him to become a world-class guitarist with the kind of talent that captured the attention and respect of Gregg Allman.

During his years as Gregg’s lead guitarist and then musical director, Scott always looked forward to the visits to Macon and to the Big House. It was there that he experienced the joy of playing Duane Allman’s 1957 Les Paul Gold Top for first time. The Macon shows with Gregg’s band always brought together many of the long-time fans who had seen the ABB during its formative years. The Macon shows with the Gregg Allman Band had such a special energy that the decision was made to record Back To Macon Live, a wonderful testament to the soul, strength and musical grace of the Gregg Allman Band.

Following the memorial services to honor Gregg’s passing earlier this year, Scott once again returned to the Big House as a group of family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of the rock legend who had become Scott’s mentor and friend during their decade together. And while trips to Macon have become more sentimental for Scott following Gregg’s passing, the music is still there to light way back to the Big House and to the stage.

In September, Scott made his first trip to Macon since Gregg’s memorial services as the Big House hosted an album listening party for Southern Blood, Gregg’s final studio release. After participating in a roundtable discussion centering on Gregg’s life in music and the recording for Southern Blood, Scott shared the gift of music with those gathered around the Big House backyard stage.

In October, Scott will be returning to Macon as part of the first Southeastern tour by his Brickyard Band. Following a visit to the Blue Note Grill in Durham, NC, Scott and the Brickyard Band will be taking the stage for the first time in Macon at the Cox Capital Theatre. Fittingly, part of the proceeds from the event in Macon will go to support the Big House and its musical education mission.

Prior to the Southern Blood event in September, Scott sat down with freelance writer and producer Greg Thompson for a conversation that we have developed into a podcast series. The podcast offered Scott an opportunity to address a number of topics, including taking listeners inside of the Southern Blood recording sessions, the moment Gregg told Scott about his terminal diagnosis, the writing work involved for My One True Friend and Scott’s last visit with Gregg. The opening segment, which you can access below, begins with Scott recalling his very first visit to Macon and the Big House.

Gregory LeNoir Allman (12/8/47 - 5/27/17)

"On Saturday, we all lost an icon of true rock and roll musical expression. Gregg Allman and his visionary brother Duane, created the band that was essentially the Beatles for every kid in America that wanted to play the blues, and beyond…The Allmans were the big bang moment for me. Their concerts and albums were a regular fixture of my childhood in the late 80s and into the 90s. Their band has always been the template for a seamless fusion of groove, improvisational propulsion, incendiary hook laden song craft and of course, those world weary and iconic vocals of our man Gregg. Does anyone doubt that he is the greatest white blues singer of all time? I certainly do not.

 

But to the end, Gregg and I would have endless listening sessions, Howling Wolf or Muddy or Bobby Bland blasting over his speakers, and Gregg would still marvel at that mastery. He was a humble and dedicated song craftsmen and song interpreter to the bitter end. And that is the key. I have so many personal thoughts and memories at this time. Over the last few years, we became very close. Sure I started out as a fan, then his guitarist, but our relationship grew to become songwriters, band leaders and friends together. There were many many laughs and late-night conversations either on that bus blazing down another lost highway, or on his back porch in Savannah with a raging red sunset over the boat slip as our backdrop. Those talks would veer all over but one of our themes was the state of music in the last several years.

 

There were always signs of hope but the general feel from this musical master who participated in one of our greatest moments in the American musical renaissance was that we had to all find our way back to being an original. Gregg was not just obsessed with blues, by the way. We would also often listen to Pharaoh Sanders, he adored Tim Buckley and played just about the most heart renching version of “Once I Was” you could ever imagine.

 

With each passing legend from our musical renaissance, I end up asking “what now?” and again and again the lesson is clear. If you’re a fan, buy a record or a ticket. If you’re an executive in entertainment help a band, a band with their own sound who needs some real help, and not another hollow tribute to what was, but what can be.

 

And, if you’re a musician and you really want to pay tribute to this great man, his brother and their bands legacy, learn every precious note of the masters and then go your own way. Also remember, Gregg was all about the song and capturing the beauty and expression in a perfect lyric, chord change, voicing and groove. We need more of that spirit in our creations.

 

As much as the guitar solos of this music were life changing epic improvisations, without the compositions and the groove they mean nothing. I’m sure Duane knew that. After all, he was the shining star for all the men of the Allmans. He was a master curator and deep philosophical searcher from what I've heard. My sole comfort today in losing my friend is that he is back with his brother and beloved Mama A. Play the big and true notes and support them with all your heart, hug and love those around you every day, even the ones with whom you disagree. What these men did was rain truth daggers of love and unity in every salvo of sound from the stage. One true note can slice into every heart. I truly believe this was Gregg’s goal every time he took the stage or stepped to a mic, I never saw him miss."

 

-Scott Sharrard

IMG_4654.JPG

September 25, 2016: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO (Photo Credit: Jim Mimna)

THE FUNKY DRUMMER

The Globe in Madison WI was the jam session everyone spoke of in my circle in hushed whispers. As a young teen in Milwaukee I couldn't wait to take the drive and witness the heartbeat of funk drumming in the flesh. Ronn Gilbert was the first band member I had the pleasure of meeting and jamming with. He invited me to see the band and sit in, at that point I was about 18. Of course my partner Sean Dixon made the journey North with me. Clyde had all the soul and swagger in spades. His grace and punch lit up the band stand, he even sang some Ray Charles ballads with aplomb. Mel Ford was on guitar, that was the night I decided I was gonna commit to old blackface fender amps and semi hollow gibsons. Mel was pulling a whole variety of great sounds out of that rig. I played my tunes and Clyde was so kind and supportive. Years later Id meet my NYC band mate Moses Patrou on my first Jay Collins band gig. Low and behold he grew up there and under the spell of Clyde in the flesh. My favorite story I got off of Clyde, the album Live and Loud in Dallas '68 is one of the most incendiary band recordings in history. It sounds like Seal Team 6 fighting their way out of a hostile territory with punk rock fury. Theres even a string quartet on this thing. They had a primitive PA like so many gigs back then. They were inventing shit! A packed stadium in Dallas and the fury aroused by the assassination of MLK that week were thick in the air. The band played on and toured. James could not be stopped. And neither could Jabo and Clyde. The tank gunners of his brigade. With no mics on the drums the guys furiously whipped their instruments with precision. Clyde recounted that halfway through, whipping the snare and kick all the way to the stadium nose bleeds, he looked down and his drum heads are covered in blood from all his callous bursting. That people is how they did it. So as we put another indelible legend and master torchbearer to rest lets remember, desperate times call for desperate measures and they also call for real music with a message and power. the kind of power that makes you lose yourself into bleeding all over your drums. Go listen to that record. Write a song, PLAY a beat. Fuck the sampling. Fuck demographic marketing. Lets all get together and make a joyous and inflammatory noise, on the 1, in honor of the men.

Onwards...
-SS

THE SOUND PODCAST

LISTEN HERE

"Sometimes you have to be good to be lucky. I suspect that's the case for Scott Sharrard. While not a house hold name, this guy is well versed in the ways of rock n' roll having been schooled by some of the best musicians and music industry insiders. He is currently the music director and lead guitar player for the Gregg Allman Band, but that accomplishment is only the tip of the iceberg for this very talented man."

-Ira Haberman, The Sound Podcast

https://www.thesoundpodcast.com/blog/2017/1/30/episode-6-scott-sharrard

MUSIC IS STILL THE ANSWER

Music is still the answer. That’s what I keep coming back to, it’s what I do after all, but it’s also been my way of life for as long as I can remember. The world feels more fractured than ever, there are so many issues plaguing us that it’s become a tsunami of grief and confusion every day. The news inflates our hysteria and distracts us from our humanity. At a time when I think we don’t know ourselves anymore and in a time when we can’t seem to find human connection, music is still the answer.

So I’ve resolved to double down on writing and gigs and do my small part in this community. We are going full steam ahead to Muscle Shoals and Memphis in December of this year to make my new album. It’s an album I’ve been trying to make for 4 years. But now I’ve really got to get on with it. I’ll be asking for your help as we no longer have record labels to be our patrons. It’s all come down to the artists and the people. Truthfully its always been just about us. It’s a bullshit free system. It’s not gonna make any of us rich, but maybe that keeps us all honest. At the least it will keep the music pure. Unadulterated by board room meetings and the dreaded “demographic marketing” of the 90’s and on through the demise of the record men.

There’s something new around the corner. I’m gonna be 40 in December so I have no illusions about my role in this. I’m trying to protect the traditions that I was taught by the older generation of musicians who taught me, I still believe they did it right. At most times it has been like protecting a tiny candle in a raging hurricane, sometimes with one hand tied behind my back. I still have hope that there’s a young generation coming up that’s going to pick up the flame we have been trying to protect and storm the palace with blazing torches.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen a million schemes come and go and the real music is still here. The blues, rock and roll, soul, jazz, country...they are all just names. Genre was invented by guys who needed to divide us so they could sell their product in a less complicated way, cause marketing people NEVER want to actually market anything. That would require actual work and sacrifice. Funny that creating music requires so much time and sacrifice but when it came to selling it most people did not seem to care enough.

But the truth is that we are complicated and all the music is one. There is no genre, great music is great music. The language of the soul. That means that music should always remind us that we are one. It’s the definitive sound of our human struggle, and specifically our countries struggle. We should be proud that we have turned so much suffering and misunderstanding into something beautiful and timeless for the whole world to marvel at for all time.

My generation has always lived in the shadow of the 1960’s. It was the definitive time in our countries cultural and artistic renaissance. Mainly the music. We had the musical Da Vinci’s, and Picasso’s come to life all at once while our country burned itself down in the background. The standard was raised so high. Genre’s all blended together from that period. It was a movement. We need another one. And by we, I mean the whole music community. Then maybe we can try to create some valid soundtracks for all this confusion. Something to lead us all back into the light. Together we can at least try to find a way. In the meantime, in the words of the great Patti Smith (and with thanks to Patterson Hood for sharing this quote) “Love each other, Motherfuckers!” 

-SS

ONE FROM THE ROAD

May/June 2016 has been a pretty incredible time for myself and my band. It all started with Prince’s passing. I detailed my feelings on that event with a pretty passionate and confessional essay that helped to illuminate his immense influence on the course of my musical life. He’s yet another lost legend that we get to invoke with every passing note. So the last couple months of gigs have been a sort of rallying point for myself and our Brickyard Band family. And it’s really starting to feel like a NY musical commune at this point.

There’s no question that the Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 residency has deepened our resolve to bring together all the talented people we are so lucky to know. Amy Helm is such a revelation and inspiration for us all, the purity of her voice and musical spirit melds the best of her dad’s direct delivery and the burnished Soul of her musical God Mother Mavis Staples into a totally original artist. Having her join, us and lend her talents to one of our shows was the best possible send off to 3 weeks worth of one offs.

Then in Week 2 my musical brothers of the road, Marc Quinone’s and Pete Levin of the Gregg Allman Band, came down to send our groove into a whole’ nother stratosphere. Of course I’m lucky enough to hang with Gregg Allman, help him run his band as MD and write songs together. But the icing was to have him take time out of his hectic schedule to come down to our gig and sing his ass off on one of his many classic compositions “Ain't Wasting Time No More”. Bill Sims JR was our official guest that night. Bill has been inspiring me to play and sing the blues in NYC for 20 years. He’s still one of the best ANYWHERE and he brought the house down with his jaw dropping Blues mastery and a couple revelatory Bob Dylan arrangements.

We also had the honor of playing Mountain Jam for the first time. Our upstate family, Jay Collins on Baritone sax and Connor Kennedy on guitar and vocals rounded out the band there. We had selfishly prayed for rain and got it, we basically closed the damn festival because of a torrential storm around 3pm and the indoor stage we had been assigned to was absolutely packed thanks to the efforts of our tireless manager and “spiritual adviser”/tour mystic Jesse G.

Late this week I’ll be doing my first round at Fur Peace Ranch with the great Jorma Kaukonen and my band will be coming out as well to play a show on that Saturday night in Ohio. It’s such an honor to fuse my love of teaching with a live performance jam with my band from NYC. Then it’s off to the next tour of Gregg Allman band shows in the South.

One more night at Rockwood Wednesday and it’s gonna be crammed with more friends, young and old, sage musicians with wisdom and some fresh jams with young bloods. It will hopefully be packed wall to wall again with what we can only call our “fans”. Really they are our friends. The music business has been a disaster for so long. The only way out is to strengthen our local musical community of fans and artists and lead each other into the light. I’m no spring chicken, and the people who know me well can tell you that the “dark lord” is sometimes one of my nicknames, but this early summer has really lifted me up. Losing Prince was crushing. But his absence will remind us all every day of what the standard needs to be. Strength in numbers, the blues at the heart, rock and roll in our souls, one gig at a time, we will continue to protect the music the best we can. I’ve been doing this so long and I’m so thankful for the friends I have who are so talented and the music fans who have rallied to raise my band up to another level. Onwards!

-SS

FOR THE PURPLE ONE, MAY HE REST IN PEACE

Last Thursday, April 21st is a day I will never forget. That was the day that we found out we had lost Prince. It wasn’t another TMZ fable or disposable sound bite. It was life. The starkest reminder of our mortality, one of the true prophets of our tribe was gone forever.

I’ve read a lot of touching tributes to our man (Questlove did a remarkable job) and I’ve seen some great musical send offs (The D’angelo performance on Fallon was stunning). I spent the entire week debating whether I should sound off on this one. Yes, we’ve lost so many this year. 2016 has dealt a decisive blow to our musical renaissance that lasted from the 1930’s to the mid to late ‘80s and spanned across the Atlantic to our brothers and sisters in England. Bowie, Toussaint and BB King were all horrible losses for us all. We saw BB coming, Bowie had perhaps cheated death for as long as he could, pushing his body and mind to the outer limits time and again. Toussaint didn’t make sense but he was pushing up there in age. Prince though? I mean, I saw this guy play a half dozen or so times live and he was just invincible. I was sure that he would be with us well into his 80’s, slapping us with a cane to get our shit together. This was a betrayal. I’m pissed about this one. Trumps message lives and Prince’s dies, what does this say about where we are going? More disturbing than that, who is our Prince now?

It all started for me with Prince, at the age of about 8 my first vivid memory of buying my own cassette tape was the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. Then the videos on MTV in heavy rotation. Unlike Questloves religious family that threw out his Prince music and banned it from the house, my family embraced him whole heartedly as the next Jimi Hendrix (an artist they loved, my mom in particular). Of all the tributes I’ve read there has been ample and justified praise for Prince’s Virtuosity, showmanship, and stagecraft. But don’t ever forget, Prince was one of US. And by that I mean a musician, first. Like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and a handful of others, he blurred the lines of race, sex, politics, religion, ethnicity, style and sound into one perfect sonic collage. He was one of these artists. Like a Picasso or Rembrandt. Every piece was either a giant window into a complete world or it at least had a couple black holes you could slip into. When one of my favorite Prince tracks comes on (and there may be hundreds of favs for me) I’m locked into the story every time. That seamless blend of great songcraft, delivery, production, and the lyrical story. This is music making at its highest. The use of musical styles as if they are just colors on his palette. Prince was one of the artists who taught us, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, it doesn’t matter if you love jazz, classical, blues and hip hop, this is all music. He was a MUSICIAN. And he was the only contemporary of my generation who followed through with a fearless commitment to not be boxed into “demographics” or styles. He was the embodiment of untamable creativity.

In recent years I had lost touch with our beloved leader. I hadn’t seen a show in a while. I heard he was still kicking ass. But his commitment to the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Who’s bizarre hoodoo surrounding medicine and surgeries may have inadvertently taken his life by preventing his need for hip replacement surgery and thus perpetuating his subsequent opioids abuse, but I digress) and his endless and misguided war against the internet set him adrift from some of his fans in recent years. I regret letting him go a little. These ended up being his last years. I’m sure his much fabled vault is full of treasures and I hope they find a way to cobble together an estate and a plan to release all of it. But back to last Thursday April 21st.

I was doing a podcast interview with Dan Miles. Dan did a great job researching my catalog. I sometimes kid that I’m gonna be the first artist who when they finally get signed by a major, will have a boxed set released as their first album. Anyway, Dan was brave enough to dive in and he was struck by a couple tracks on my first two records. We discussed how heavily influenced by Prince these records were. How Prince had inspired me to finally take control and play most of the instruments on these albums. Then as we wrapped up Dan’s engineer broke in to tell us that in fact Prince was gone. I had to pull my shit together to play Bar Chord that night in Brooklyn with my band. I really wanted to cancel. Instead I gave the fellas heads up that we were doing a “Funk Funeral” for Prince. I called my buddy Sean Dixon (my partner from The Chesterfields) right away. We had a Prince obsession that dated back to high school. We learned to write music together because of Prince. We are both from the rust belt and live for that Minneapolis brand of old school funk. Sean came down that night. As did a lot of good friends. We jammed not only Prince tunes but Parliament, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown…we played some Blues, we explored some free jazz. Everyone was worked up. Me perhaps the most. We ended with “Purple Rain” and it was like the whole room exploded. This one was such a catharsis for everyone there. It was like the whole club was performing it for him. I’ve rarely experienced such an atmosphere at any gig anywhere. The closest vibe I could match it to was the Allman Brothers last show.

There was such a human rush that night. Prince music pouring from every bar. And my band, thrashing out with funk fury in a tiny bar in Brooklyn with about 100 or so mourners and musicians. Working it out together. It was our Prince “after show party”. I like to think if he had been there he would have jumped up and jammed with us all night. I think he would have appreciated what we have taken and learned from him. To be musicians, to push the boundaries and to take bold steps forward against all odds. Prince is way more than high heels, squeals and posing. He’s one of the most outstanding musical artists who ever lived. He transcended race and musical genre. Like Picasso, Miles, Bach and Shakespeare, he is forever. I hope wherever he is now he is free of the pain and adversity that this world deals in blow after blow. I also selfishly hope he left behind a little of himself for all of us, we need more than his music. We need his guiding spirit along with that of all the innovators. It will take another generation or two before we even try to get another one. In the meantime, lets protect the music and try to create that atmosphere from the 70’s that got someone like him his musical patronage. And above that, let’s let the music speak. In every note, with a handful of legends, we shall forever hear his name. 

-SS

OFF TO MUSCLE SHOALS

Photo By Derek McCabe

"On August 23rd, 2008 I auditioned for Gregg Allman's band at an Allman Brothers concert in Camden, NJ. Taking the stage with that band for the first time was one of the most thrilling and intimidating moments of my life. Luckily I passed the test and after many miles on the road, a live album and so many internal band changes, I now find myself getting ready to fly to Muscle Shoals today to begin work on Gregg's first studio album with his own band since the 1980's...Searching for Simplicity and Low Country Blues were done with mostly studio sidemen instead of Gregg's touring band. Not only that, but we are recording at Fame studios, the Rosetta Stone of soul music. We are also lucky enough to have Don Was at the helm as Producer, who has already proved himself to be the down to earth maestro that we had all hoped for. I've been hearing Gregg sing the songs we wrote together as well as the new cover he's doing of my song 'Love Like Kerosene' for a couple years now. I couldn't hope for a better setting or band to realize these tunes as well as the cover song ideas that Don, Gregg and I and the band have come up with. Of course my solo band will be on pause for the month but we are coming back strong in April and through the summer. We are getting asked to play a lot of festivals, of course my touring schedule with Gregg is going to be busy but we have at least managed to lock down a slot in our own backyard in Upstate NY at Mountain Jam. Many more gig announcements for Gregg and my group to come. And I will be putting out that new live album of my own this summer, stay tuned for that as well. I feel like music in general is getting better and I hope I can play some part in helping to protect it with all these projects. One thing for certain is that I will continue to work hard and be thankful for this incredible journey that its been. It's a job that I truly love and Ill be a fan for life. Onwards."

-SS

VIDEO   Gregg Allman Band Live, Back To Macon DVD: "Whipping Post"

A WEEK WITH DUANE'S '57 GOLDTOP

Scott Sharrard- '57 Gold Top (Duane Allman).jpg

"This was an incredible week in Macon Georgia with Gregg and the band. First off, the band is just playing better and better, this may have been our best string of gigs yet. Since we were here for a week this year I took this opportunity to really dive into Macon and the Abros history. Visiting Duanes grave and spending time at the big house pulls a lot of energy out of you. Then you eat at H&H and experience the soul food that kept these musical visionaries alive, where they ate on Mama Louise's credit (Mama was with us at the gigs all week), you can feel that the town sustained and revived them in between epic road battles and further musical explorations. They had all left other lucrative and safe musical pursuits and bands to design their own revolutionary sound in music. Duane was their leader. Macon was the staging ground that he chose. Of course everyone wants to know what it's like to play Duanes Gold Top dubbed "Layla" as it was used on the first two Allman Bros albums and Claptons "Layla" album. Well Thanks to Richard Brent and Rob Schneck at the Big House I was able to play the guitar all week. The guitar has an enormous tone. It makes every other guitar sound like a toy. The pick ups were heavily modded by Duane at one time (he took the originals whe he traded away the axe but they have been recently replaced with exacting copies), the wood is that rare '50's Gibson wood made from an extinct breed of trees, the guitar howls with a low end resonance that just goes on and on. Duane left a piece of his soul in the bridge pickup. Playing that instrument that was used on the original recordings and playing those songs onstage with Gregg for some of his biggest fans in Macon...it's as special as it sounds and I'm truly honored. I won't lie, I had chills the whole time. Richard also brought me a slide that belonged to Duane and was passed down to Dickey and Warren. Playing those call and response exchanges with Gregg's vocal and that slide on that guitar was too much...My main take away other than just being so thankful that Duane graced this planet and lead the charge for his vision, is that we need to carry this music and whatever lies next further. Music has been adrift for a while now. But I feel it coming back. It has too. Never forget what the Abros did. They literally starved and battled for their music. It was everything to them. Now it's everything to us. That's what it takes. Let's all do our best this year and as musicians and as music lovers let's help each other to be better and protect and push the music. And no matter what you play or listen to don't forget at some point to come to Macon and pay your respects. Some of these men gave all in the course of giving us the eternal joy of their music. This is the real shit that matters. Onwards."

-SS

http://www.duaneallmansgoldtop.com

"Dreams" w/ Duane Allman's 1957 Goldtop Les Paul
Grand Opera House, Macon, GA
January 16, 2016
Audience Video

SCOTT SHARRARD OF GREGG ALLMAN BAND TALKS COMPOSING, GUITARS, 2016 LAID BACK FESTIVALS, CO-BILLS WITH ZZ TOP

"Back in 2011, Glide called Scott Sharrard, 'Gregg Allman’s Secret Weapon.' But that anonymity didn’t last long. Joining the band in 2008, by 2011 the guitar player was feeling right at home within the rhythms and harmony of Allman’s solo band; so much so, that he has done nothing but soar ever since."