The news that Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes will leave the Allman Brothers surprised and saddened Tinsley Ellis, a fellow Georgia guitarist who has jammed with the band on several occasions.
He doesn’t necessarily assume the band will call it quits, but if it does, he said it is going out on top.
“I just played with them, their last big show in Atlanta, and I got up and did a song with them and I didn’t see anything that was like a band about to break up to me,” Ellis said. “It was the best Allman Brothers show I have seen since ‘Ramblin’ Man’ came out in 1973. I was thinking, ‘Wow, they couldn’t get any better.’ ”
Haynes has been in the band since 1989. Trucks joined the band in 1999, when he was 19 years old.
Haynes has his own band and Gov’t Mule. Trucks also has his own band and he plays with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, in the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Scheduling could have been a factor in the decision.
“That’s the only thing I could figure because they get along real well,” Ellis said. “The other thing I think is that nobody has said the band is breaking up, they just said those two guys were leaving. How do you replace Warren Haynes as a band leader and how do you replace Derek Trucks as the heir to Duane Allman? The word ‘irreplaceable’ comes to mind.”
If the band were to continue, an obvious candidate to play guitar would be Gregg Allman’s son Devon, who has a band, Honeytribe, and who plays with the supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood with Mike Zito and Cyril Neville.
Fans have speculated Dickey Betts might return to the Allman Brothers, and some have guessed Robert Randolph, a Southerner who has talent to rival Derek Trucks.
“If you could survive the death of Duane Allman, it seems you could survive any personnel change that might come along,” Ellis said. “The whole concept of the Allman Brothers right from the start is when Duane Allman culled from all the bands in the South looking for (the best) players for his band and that’s always been the way they’ve operated.
“But I tell you this is going to be a tough one. You are taking away the two guys who played better together than anyone since Dickey Betts and Duane Allman.
Another musician from Georgia, Mickey Thomas, who is from the town of Cairo, spoke about the Allman Brothers last week before his concert with Starship at Lake Tahoe.
“They meant so much to the Southern music scene and the people who lived in the South because it was like they were ours,” Thomas said.
The Allman Brothers were the vanguard of the genre southern rock, he said.
“We all felt like we were a part of it in a small way; part of that scene that they were helping to create nationwide and worldwide, and the recognition they were bringing to the South.
“And Capricorn Records was a big part of it too with Phil Walden and the studios he built there in Macon and luring a lot of other artists to come from other parts of the country to come down to Macon and make records there. … We (the Elvin Bishop Band) were roped in there with the Marshall Tuckers and Lynyrd Skynyrds and Wet Willies of the world, which is not a bad place to be.”