Original drummer of the Allman Brothers Band hits the road as Butch Trucks & The Freight Train, kicking off their six-night Florida tour with an intimately rocking evening at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, FL. The sold-out room saw Butch fresh off the flight from his home in Paris and ready to play.
The night opened with The Ben Sparaco Band, whose name is becoming more familiar amongst the Florida jam-family, and who will be returning to the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park for Aura Music Festival in March. Only eighteen years old with a sound that combines energetic and soulful guitar playing with a unique blend of soul, blues, jazz, and folk music, complemented by an incredible band to back him up. Playing mostly originals, but also incorporating impressive covers from Freddy King and Johnny Coltrane, those who know him look forward to hearing more.
Butch’s Freight Train, having only played together less than a handful of times, stuck to mostly covers, like Jeff Beck‘s ‘Freeway Jam’, The Band‘s ‘Ophelia’, Les McCann & Eddie Harris‘ ‘Compared To What’, and more, also keeping it appropriately classic with some Allman Brothers tunes, ‘Hot ‘Lanta’, ‘Dreams’, ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’, ‘Statesboro Blues’, and ‘Whipping Post.’ They will be debuting some originals over the course of their present tour.
The Freight Train Band included some particularly interesting characters, mostly all Allman-related, with Berry Duane Oakley Jr. on bass and vocals (the son of original ABB bassist Berry Oakley), Vaylor Trucks on guitar (Butch’s son, Derek’s cousin, and also the little boy on the cover of the ABB album ‘Brothers and Sisters’), Damon Fowler on guitar (previous work with Greg Allman, Chris Duarte, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, and more), and Bruce Katz on the Hammond B-3 Organ (mad scientist on the ivories, leader of his own band, member of Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band and past member of Gregg Allman Band). The group was joined by a slew of special guests…
With Berry Duane on vocals, and impressive guitar trades between Vaylor and Damon, the room was captivated by the Allman classic, and personal favorite ‘Dreams’. It is worth noting that Vaylor Trucks is an actual Jedi, and people are quickly learning this. Evidence below:
Butch is continuously finding young, new talent, such as Heather Gillis, the 21-year-old sensational singer/guitar player, and sorority girl from FSU. Heather joined in for ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’, (along with Melody Trucks, Butch’s daughter and Vaylor’s sister) on harmonies, took the Bill Withers classic ‘Aint No Sunshine’ by storm, as well as ‘Only You Know & I Know’ by Delaney and Bonnie, and a show-stopping ‘Whipping Post’ that nobody wanted to end – Butch included.
‘In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed’ was another crowd-pleasing, Allman Brothers classic, which featured a second drum kit for ABB-measures with Tad Isch, a fellow Roots Rock Revival alumni (as is Heather).
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night was when Butch announced that he would be singing for the first time in 45 years, which is of course right around the time that the Allman Brothers banded. Taking a Bob Dylan classic into his own hands, he sang (while drumming) ‘Highway 61 Revisited’:
When asked at the end of the night how it felt to be playing again, the nearly-deaf man shouted, “Are you kidding me?! It felt GREAT!” We expect to see more of Butch in 2016, including his set with Les Brers at Wanee, which he briefly discusses the future of in this recent exclusive interview.
Furthermore, the night’s encore brought a Trucks reunion, with Butch’s daughter Melody on vocals and his son Seth on the second drum kit for an ABB staple ‘Statesboro Blues’. The talent from the Trucks family is just downright unstoppable.
All videos courtesy of our friends at CHeeSeHeaDPRoDuCTioNS. Check out the full setlist and additional December dates below:
Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band @ The Funky Biscuit 12/26/2015
Hot ‘Lanta*, Trouble No More, She Caught The Katy, Freeway Jam, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door^#, Dreams, Aint No Sunshine^, Only You Know & I Know^
Highway 61 Revisted, Ophelia, Compared To What, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed*
E: Statesboro Blues#%, Whipping Post^
Guests: *Tad Isch (drums), ^Heather Gillis (guitar), #Melody Trucks Dugger (vocals), %Seth Trucks (drums)
The Road Goes On Forever with:
12/ 27- Ponte Vedra Concert Hall in Ponte Vedra Beach FL
12/ 28- Terra Fermata in Stuart FL
12/ 29- Aces Live Music Bradenton
12/ 30- The Plaza Live in Orlando FL
12/ 31- Capitol Theatre in Clearwater FL