It has been a star-studded stretch for the Allman Brothers Band, which seems to share the stage with some music legend almost every other night.
There was, of course, the annual run earlier this year at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where the guest list included Eric Clapton and Sheryl Crow. In May, a West Coast swing teamed the band with the Dead, a few of the Heartbreakers and Ziggy Marley.
The latter pushed the band into reggae, a road less traveled for the iconic Southern rockers.
"We had never played reggae in our lives," Gregg Allman says by phone from New York, where he was getting a new tattoo at the time. "We did 'I Shot the Sheriff' and Ziggy stood up and sang it. I could tell he was worried, but we cranked that boy up."
Expect the band to do the same this weekend, when it headlines the Wanee Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak. After playing an outdoor show in New York with temperatures in the low-40s, the band is ready for the old-fashioned sticky summer heat.
"It's always real good," Allman says of returning to his roots in Florida. "We don't go back enough. We don't go to New Orleans enough; don't go to Texas enough. We don't get out to the West Coast enough."
With the late edition of Buddy Guy to the Wanee lineup, there's the possibility of another cool jam. Although the Allman Brothers have been around for 40 years, the group is still a newcomer compared with its idols.
"The amazement part of it is that you look around and there are people you have adored and looked up to for big parts of your life," Allman says. "What's really hard to swallow is that they feel the same way about you -- only you're kind of a new thing to them. Newer than they are to you, at least."
The band, which now includes the extended family of slide guitarist Derek Trucks, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Is this how Allman originally envisioned it?
"I never thought we'd make enough money to pay rent," he says. "I was gonna be a surgeon."
Somehow, Dr. Allman just doesn't have the same ring to it.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times