Gregg Allman’s Manager Offers Details of ‘Big, Special’ Final Album ‘Southern Blood’
In the months leading up to his death, Gregg Allman was focused on finishing what would turn out to be his final studio album. Allman's longtime manager, Michael Lehman, promises the end result, the upcoming Southern Blood LP, offers a fitting closing chapter to a distinguished career.
Speaking with Yahoo! Music, Lehman detailed his final days with Allman, who died May 27 at the age of 69. While there were obviously ups and downs toward the end as he struggled with his failing health, the Southern Blood sessions always, as Lehman put it, "made him light up." Working on the album over the course of a couple of years, Allman came to understand he'd be putting a capstone on his legacy — and both men were ready to shoulder the burden.
"It’s comprised of a bunch of really cool covers and a couple of original tunes, but I really can’t say much more beyond that," said Lehman. "Gregg really wanted to keep [information about the album] tight and I have to respect his wishes — he wanted to surprise his friends and his fans. But I think it’s a record that everyone’s really going to be excited to hear — his vocals are so compelling, and hearing them and knowing where he was in his life’s journey, it’s just chilling, honestly."
While underscoring how his focus is on Southern Blood in the short term, Lehman also hinted at the strong possibility of posthumous archival releases from Allman's vaults — chiefly concert recordings, of which he said there's a "huge trove" waiting to be heard. "We have a lot of old concerts that we’ll put out over a period of time. We did a five-night run at [New York small venue] City Winery in 2015 and we plan on releasing that," he added. "It was an incredibly intimate experience playing for just 400 people each of those nights."
Southern Blood doesn't have a release date yet, but it's now available to pre-order at Allman's online store. "As things started to slow down and we knew that his life was coming to a close, we started talking about preserving his legacy," said Lehman. "It was my goal to make sure it would be a big, special album, even though that it became clear that Gregg wasn’t necessarily going to be able to promote it, even if he was here, and that was something we were going to be prepared for."
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