When Gregg Allman died this weekend, the world lost an artist who, more than any other, was almost singularly credited with being the forefather of an entire genre.
Allman, whose soulful voice was made for mourning, lived and sang a life of contradictions that is inherent in the South: joy and despair, hope and despondency, sin and salvation. An introvert by nature, he was surrounded by trauma. His father was murdered when he was a child; his brother and bamdmate Duane died at 27; there was drug addiction, depression and health problems. He cloaked it in a brew of country-blues and improvisational rock ‘n roll, and introduced the world to a new blend of music: Southern rock.
“I must’ve said this a million times,” he said in the last lines of his autobiography. “But if I died today, I’ve had me a blast. I would never trade my life for nobody’s, but I don’t know if I’d do it again. If somebody offered me a second round, I think I’d have to pass on it.”