Vince Gill got a rare opportunity recently when he was given the chance to play a guitar owned and often played by the late guitar wizard, Duane Allman. Gill was in Macon, Georgia, home of the Allman Brothers Band, on May 5 to do a benefit concert for the Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia.
“I have chills running down my spine,” said Gill as he showed off the instrument to the crowd. “This was the guitar that Duane Allman played with the Allman Brothers.” The Country Music Hall of Fame member amped up the crowd’s energy playing songs with extended guitar solos like his own hit, “Pretty Little Adrianna.” (View a clip of this performance here.
Like Allman himself, the guitar has had an amazing life. The 1957 Les Paul Gold Top Standard is the piece on which Allman actually recorded the rock classic “Layla” with Eric Clapton on the Derek And The Dominoes’ immortal set, 1970’s ¬Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Allman also played this guitar on the first two Allman Brothers Band albums.
Allman traded the guitar a mere week later, obviously with no inkling of the importance the instrument would have in the history of rock music. He died in a motorcycle wreck the following year. The guitar had been played in public at the band’s annual March Beacon Theater run in NYC—by band members Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks—but this is the first time it was played in Macon, GA since Allman’s death.
“It was a spiritual experience for me,” said Gill, who was given the honor of playing the guitar by owner Scot Lamar and E.J. Devokaitis, Curator / Archivist at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in Macon. “The moment that Vince first took a solo with the guitar was extremely emotional for the proud Maconites in attendance,” commented Devokaitis. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the building, and the combination of the guitar’s tone and Vince’s heartfelt playing transcended the concert…to me, it felt like Duane was speaking to us through Vince and his reverence – extremely special.”
This week, during the CMA Music Festival, Gill will once again play in the City Of Hope’s Softball Game, as well as host a private party for his fan club. His upcoming dates include June 15-16 Moncton, NB, Canada; June 18 St. John’s, NL, Canada; June 23 Bluegrass Nights at Ryman Auditorium; June 24-25 Lake Charles, LA and June 26 Lafayette, LA. Check out www.vincegill.com for more information. For more information on the guitar and the Allman Bros. Museum, visit www.bighousemuseum.org
Photo credit: Dwayne Bass
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