As a part of the Allman music family in Macon, I markedly make a point to make it down every other weekend, and especially for any event on the schedule. Somehow, each  time I go, the clouds open up to beautiful majestic skies, as if Duane Allman is welcoming me back into the fold of energy flowing music love that lies there.

Saturday was no different. Never mind I was stumbling from bed after a night on the town with some of my Atlanta music pals after a late night stop at my house, which has become tradition in my home. This time it was for a special event, Duane Allman’s birthday, the Skydog celebration with music and friends of Duane. As I pulled into the ‘city of history’ I adore so music and into the Central City Park, I could hear the music of the Allman Brothers floating across the park through my ears filling me with a warm familiar welcoming smile.

The support, and ongoing care for the history of the town’s music scene is breathtaking to watch. There are a crew of musicians and volunteers all connected with the Allman’s keeping the music alive, as well as protecting and restoring the memorabilia and historic spots in town. People like Greg Potter, a former Allman roadie, and John Charles Griffin, a close personal friend and trustee of the Big House (the home where Duane Allman and the guys lived and played their music) have been working hard giving their time keeping the magic alive. It’s a beautiful thing to see people dedicated to someone’s memory and music.

I traversed the park in my six inch heels; something a gal wears when you hit these events. It’s very sexy, biker style wear for the music-girl in me. I immediately ran into the usual suspects, people I love and adore. I lay in the grass giggling and tapping my toes to the music with every time signature and note. My eyes moved to the stage to find a young artist I work with, Tony Tyler, a phenomenon of a guitarist, drummer, and every other instrument strutting his stuff on stage with the older Allman crew of artists.  I watched as their faces were delighted at Tony’s incredible playing and singing.

I made the usual rounds of hugs, hellos, how you been, and encountered massive amount of photographs snapping as I do every time I hit the town. The Macon Allman-love wraps you in comfort, welcome and a special spirit dances there. They really treat those of us in the music industry exquisitely. As I crossed the field, I saw Red Dog, another former Allman roadie, just out of cancer surgery and in pain, but showing his face for a special day…the birth of Duane Allman! Duane left us too soon.  He was an amazing artist that passed away right in his heyday.

We all had our little area where we always get together, one big family, giggling, frolicking, talking and remembering a music great scene and supporting a city that supports it’s music entirely. We tapped our toes, had our conversations about Duane, the family, our lives, and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in the park to great music. Tony finished out with an acoustic of “Little Martha“, and the announcement came, that always comes at these events, “After Party at Grant’s Lounge”. Looked like it was gonna be another one of those nights of fun, more music, and beers afoot.

Now if you have never been to Grant’s Lounge in Macon, you have been cheating yourself completely. My friend and owner Edward Grant, has been keeping the tradition alive his father started years ago when he gave bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Eric Clapton, among many others their start in the city. It’s a great venue, nestled in the city, with walls of stars signatures and old photos that will make your mouth water. The place has a certain feel to it, like it’s singing out “If these Walls Could Talk!” It even has pretty much the same look as ‘the way it was’ way back when. .

We had an incredible night of music and friends, as Soulshine, Macon’s Allman Tribute band, Tony Tyler, Travis Denning, Reese Boyd and many other artists climbed on the stage to commemorate Duane Allman and the boys. I called in a local artist I know from Atlanta, Paul Warner. He is an amazing talent, and the topic of my next article, to come down the pipes!  I introduced him to the crew and our Macon family along with Edward and all of the great friends. He got the luxury of Ed asking him to climb on stage and play, something that is extraordinarily special. Edward is very selective of the artists that get on that historic stage. Paul really rocked it out, I was ridiculously proud.  I have been very selective, as well, about whom I bring down to introduce to the family.

We capped of the night, said our “I love you’s”, and myself, Paul and Matthew, his manager, decided to stay in town and treat ourselves and the guys to their first tour of the Macon spots.

We made our way to John’s house, jammed a little, giggled a little, slept, and woke and hit the town, our first stop was H&H. If you haven’t heard of or been to the H&H, or met Mama Louise, then you haven’t had the Macon tour. Right down the street from the old Capricorn Records building. It  too has seen it’s share of history. Mama Louise took great care of the Allman Brothers, many other bands, the Capricorn execs, and still does it with everyone today. You walk in and can smell the history in the air, and the amazing southern food. We ate, hugged and kissed Mama Louise, and took off on our way to Rose Hill Cemetery to see Duane Allman’s grave, another must see when you come to Macon.

The guys and I explored the cemetery, looking for Duane’s grave, reading all the old historic markers looking for Duane and Elizabeth Reed’s graves. Sadly, I wasn’t as good at finding them as I was the last few times. After that, we took off back to Atlanta, broad-satisfied-smiles on our faces, music in our hearts with a soaring sun-drenched day waving fare-the-well to us as we made our way home.

As for this high heeled music-news-muse, I had the feeling I always feel when I leave Macon, happiness mixed with great sadness at having to leave my music home away from home. Thank you Macon, the Allman family, and all the great music lovers that make my trips down so very special every time.

Kimberly (33 Posts)

Kimberly James is an artist, writer, and artist agent in the International, National, Local and Regional music market. Based out of Atlanta, Ga, she has worked with some of the biggest acts in the music industry as a touring agent, artist rep and does forums, book interviews, as well as radio interviews. She is a strong supporter of artists and songwriters and works diligently in the market to get the music out there.