Gregg Allman spent the night of May 26th listening to a handful of recordings from what would become his final album, Southern Blood. Allman passed the next day, succumbing to the liver cancer he had fought for five years. “He was fully lucid and he was excited,” Allman’s manager Michael Lehman told Rolling Stone. “He was talking quietly but he wasn’t in any pain at all. He loved the tracks and he knew what he’d done.”
Southern Blood, a collection of covers and Allman originals, will be released on September 8th of this year, but the first taste of Allman’s posthumous effort is now streaming online. “My Only True Friend” was co-written alongside Allman’s guitarist and bandleader Scott Sharrard, and serves as a conversation between Allman and his late brother Duane. “I hope you’re haunted by the music of my soul when I’m gone,” Allman sings in an aged tenor atop a bed of autumnal southern rock. “I can’t face living this life alone, I can’t bear to think this might be the end / But you and I both know, the road is my only true friend.”
Produced by Don Was and recorded at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, Southern Blood will feature Allman’s take on classics from Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Tim Buckley, and Jackson Browne. Was suggested Dylan’s “Going Going Gone,” and Jerry Garcia’s “Black Muddy River,” but Allman chose Browne’s “Song for Adam” and Buckley’s “Once I Was” because of his longstanding admiration for the songwriters.
You can pre order Southern Blood here, and take a listen to Allman’s stunning “My Only True Friend” below.