Duane Betts: Five Essential Albums

Duane Betts (photo by Dylan Jon Wade Cox, PR)
by Kara Manning | 07/17/2023 | 12:01pm

Duane Betts (photo by Dylan Jon Wade Cox, PR)

As the scion of Southern rock and roll royalty, Duane Betts grew up watching his father Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band. He absorbed the lessons learned from his father and his bandmates and would eventually play alongside his dad in Dickey Betts & Great Southern.

Named after the late Duane Allman, who died in 1971, the younger Betts has segued between assorted bands, including Whitestarr, and eventually co-founded The Allman Betts Band with Devon Allman, son of Greg Allman, and Berry Duane Oakley, son of Berry Oakley. Betts had a side gig too, as an official touring member of Dawes, but he always had his own solo aspirations. He took that first step with an EP, Sketches of American Music, in 2018.

It's taken a long time, but this month Betts has finally released his solo debut album, Wild & Precious Life on the Royal Potato Family label. Recorded at Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s Swamp Raga Studio in Jacksonville, Florida, Wild & Precious Life is a testament to Betts's family legacy but also his own identity beyond his forebears and his evolving voice as an observant and powerful country rock, blues, and folk guitarist and lyricist. Guests on the album include Derek Trucks, Marcus King and singer Nikki Bluhm.

Betts recently made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry and has a batch of summertime tri-state area stops that include Patchogue's Great South Bay Music Festival (July 23), Asbury Park's Wonder Bar (July 28), New York's The Cutting Room (July 29), Morristown's The Homestead (August 20) and Port Chester's Garcia's (August 22). Ahead of arriving in the New York area, Duane wrote about his "Five Essential Albums" for FUV:

Duane Betts: Five Essential Albums:

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things
This was the first Coltrane record I bought. I was immediately drawn to the chaotic freedom of what I was hearing. It was like nothing I had heard before.

B.B. King,  Live At The Regal
I totally love B.B.’s playing, and this record captures the whole live experience so wonderfully. You can feel the energy in the room going back and forth. It amazes me every time I hear it.

Grateful Dead, One From the Vault
This live set really helped shape my musical approach and captures the band in all their glory.

Waylon Jennings, Honky Tonk Heroes
With Waylon singing Billy Joe Shaver’s songs you can’t really go wrong. The two together are pure brilliance.

Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
I listened to this record religiously when it came out. Billy Corgan’s songs still speak to me in a profound way. Guitar layers for days.

- Duane Betts
July 2023

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