Last night, Wanee got the ball rolling for their long-awaited weekend event at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park with their “Wanee Wednesday” pre-party. After performances by Brothers & Sisters, Matt Reynolds, New Orleans Suspects, and more, the Freight Train Band took the stage to honor their fallen leader. Cody and Luther Dickinson also helped close out the opening night festivities with an emotional tribute to fallen festival stalwart and Allman Brothers co-founder Butch Trucks.
The tragedy that took Trucks from our lives earlier this year can not be erased, but the music and love he made can be honored. Trucks helped keep the beat for one of rock and roll’s most influential bands since its inception, and helped found Wanee. For those reasons and so many more, the family jam brought members of the Trucks clan and many more together with Cody and Luther to send some joyful noise skyward.
For years, the Allman Brothers family and fans have converged on The Spirit Of Suwannee Music Park, one of America’s most beloved music venues, for Wanee’s return every April. The unbeatable combination of epic jams and the sea of people gathered together for a weekend of fun under the sun and stars has become a beloved tradition for tens of thousands of music fans. When the fest’s schedule and this special set were announced, it was clear that this tribute would be one of the most important and impressive of the weekend.
It’s only fitting that a band so rooted in family be honored in the same fashion. The brothers Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars) sharing the stage with Trucks’ son Vaylor and daughter Melody made the show a true family affair. Guitarist and vocalist Heather Gillis showed the audience exactly why Trucks felt so deeply about taking her under his wing, and from there she will soar. Wanee fixture Big Mike and Melody choked back tears as they faced the packed amphitheater full of loving faces smiling back at them.
Luckily, our own Rex Thomson was on hand to record the wondrous blending of these two musical dynasties for us all to enjoy. Watch as tears turn to cheers and a father is honored by the children he left behind in the emotional clip below.
The Freight Train Band “Hot Lanta>Trouble No More”
Setlist: The Freight Train Band | Wanee | Live Oak, FL | 4/19/17
Trouble No More – MELODY
Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday – DAMON
Statesboro – MELODY
Dreams – HEATHER
Up The Line – DAMON
Out From The Center – VAYLOR / GUITAR MELODY
I Feel Ya – DAMON & MELODY
Compared to What – DAMON
Whipping Post – HEATHER