BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
Scott Sharrard was one of the few people who knew of Gregg Allman’s grim diagnosis a couple of years before the singer’s death.
As the guitarist in the Gregg Allman Band for nearly a decade, Sharrard was a trusted friend as well as a musician that the Allman Brothers Band legend could easily lock into a groove with — which made the recording of Allman’s final album, “Southern Blood,” an easygoing process despite the heaviness surrounding it.
“It was all laughs, it was all fun, it was a blast making this record,” Sharrard said. “That probably sounds crazy to people, but that’s how music is. We’re musicians; that’s what we do. Our job is to conjure emotion. Working with (Gregg) was a blast.”
Sharrard will be in Georgia for a few days this week — first with his outing, Scott Sharrard & the Brickyard Band, at the Cox Capitol Theatre in Macon on Thursday; and then as part of the Gregg Allman Band, including Allman’s son Devon, performing “Southern Blood” Saturday at Verizon Amphitheatre for this year’s installment of the Allman-curated Laid Back Festival.
Allman’s performance at the Atlanta Laid Back in October 2016 became his final live appearance; he died May 27 of complications from liver cancer.
Sharrard recently called from his home in New York for a joint interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kaedy Kiely of The River (97.1 FM). To hear more of the interview, visit www.971theriver.com.
Here are some highlights from the conversation.
Q: You’re doing something a little different on this stop of the Laid Back Festival by performing Gregg’s album. Whose idea was that?
A: Right before (Gregg) passed, I got to spend some quality time with him, and over the years, we talked about his legacy and how the Laid Back Festival played into that. He made it clear to me that he wanted his own band to participate in Laid Back, and Atlanta is the spiritual home of (the Allman Brothers’) music. It’s an incredible honor to do it. We were asked (to perform) as the Gregg Allman Band since we’re the band who played on the album. It’s our first time playing together since Gregg passed away, so there will be some emotions in that.
Q: Who is singing the album — you or Devon?
A: I’ll sing probably half of the album. People who have come to the shows know I do some singing. Devon is singing some of his dad’s hits. He’ll be playing a couple of surprise hits and closing out the set, and the Gregg Allman Band will perform “Southern Blood.” Junior Mack and Lamar Williams will be joining us; they were two artists who Gregg really loved.
Q: What was your relationship like with Gregg?
A: He trusted me with so many roles. He was a fan of my singing and songwriting, and when I say it, I can’t even believe it’s coming out of my mouth that he recorded my song “Love Like Kerosene” twice. … We spent a lot of time together. As a songwriter and singer, he had so much wisdom, but it isn’t stuff you can tell somebody to do or write it down. His vibe was exactly what you thought when you’d see him live. He could turn on a light. He could go from this lovely, jovial, polite human being and he would go on stage and no matter how sick he was, he would be a lion on stage through his voice. The Allman Brothers Band were not about artifice. They were pure channels playing music.
He really loved the Gregg Allman Band. He did hand-pick everyone in the band, and I was honored to be part of that. It was a really great experience. I can’t wait to see the guys again.
Scott Sharrard & the Brickyard Band
6:30 p.m. Thursday. Includes airing of Sharrard’s documentary commemorating the passing of Gregg Allman, followed by live show. $25-$35. Cox Capitol Theatre, 382 Second St., Macon. 1-877-435-9849, www.coxcapitoltheatre.com.
Laid Back Festival
With Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Gregg Allman Band featuring Devon Allman and Scott Sharrard, Bishop Gunn and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band. 5 p.m. Saturday. $29.50-$325. Verizon Amphitheatre at Encore Park, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.