Arts & Entertainment

Off Track: Allman Joy Comes to the State

 At age 15, Devon Allman had never met his father, legendary musician Gregg Allman, most notably of Allman Brothers Band fame.  In those days he had been thinking about his dad and his curiousity led him to try to contact him, so he wrote him a letter.

“It was like, ‘Hey, it’s me, I’m your kid. I play guitar, I’m going to school, blah blah blah. Call me if you want,’” Allman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Gregg did call his son and the two developed a strong relationship that continues today. And now, for the first time, Devon finds himself touring across the country with his old man for a prolonged period of time.

“We’ve performed together a bit before, but it was sporadic,” Devon says in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Between my schedule and his, I barely get to see him.”

But now Devon and his band Honeytribe (which also includes George Potsos, Mark Oyarzabal and Jack Kirkner) are in the midst of seven consecutive shows with Gregg Allman and Friends, a series that hits the State Theatre, Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Even after meeting his father, there was a time that Devon was set on carving out his own identity.

“I was doing music that is very different than anything anyone would expect from an Allman,” says Devon, who used to play in a hard rock band. “But during that time I felt like I wasn’t being true. When I sing, I sound like my old man, when I play guitar I sound like my uncle. I’m proud to carry on this tradition. I’m going to sing with soul and do what I want.”

Thus it is hardly difficult to spot the Allman Brothers influences in Honeytribe’s music. Now in their second go-round together — the band took a hiatus in 2001 so that Devon could spend time with his newborn son — the band is pushing their first album, Torch, and just wrapped up their first swing through the West Coast. They’ve also signed a record deal with Livewire Recordings, after shying away from larger labels that Devon believed were just out to quickly capitalize on his surname.

“Major labels market music like McDonalds markets their products, they take the soul out of it,” Devon says. “We don’t want to be stars and sell 10 million units. Our goal is to have long careers with this band that we started.”

And now he won’t have to look too far for a role model.