Gregg Allman finished recording his last solo album shortly before he died.
It is called "Southern Blood" and will be released on September 8th.
NPR premiered the first song from the album yesterday. It is called "My Only True Friend".
Dig these words:
It opens with the line: "You and I both know this river will surely flow to an end".
"Still on and on I run,
Feels like home is just around the bend
I got so much left to give, but I'm running out of time, my friend
I hope you're haunted by the music of my soul, when I'm gone
Please don't fly away and find you a new love
I can't face living this life alone
I can't bear to think this might be the end
But you and I both know, the road is my only true friend"
At some point in the recording process he knew he was dying. So he said good bye in the only way he knew how - honestly, through song, with soul deep bluntness.
This song is haunting; it faces the truth head on, it is soulful, it is deep. And it is gorgeous.
If you care about Gregg Allman at all, if you care about his legacy and the legacy of The Allman Brothers Band, you have to listen to this.
You will shed some tears the first time you listen to it. After that, your soul will come around as if it were jolted by lightening. You will lose yourself in the bluesy soulfulness of this man who lived a life like no other.
And who made music like no other.
We deal with a lot of bullshit in our lives, some a product of just being alive, some we heap upon ourselves. We get lost, we get unsure, we get afraid. We waste a lot of the precious time we have here on this earth.
But no matter what you do or don't do, no matter how you feel about your life, one day you will come face to face with death.
It hangs out there from the minute you are born, waiting to claim you. From the moment you are old enough to be aware, it is in your mind in one form or another. And when you come up on it, you gotta deal with it - there is no running away. It is as real as it gets.
You can avoid a lot of shit in life, you can fake it in so many ways and in so many situations, but death is the one thing you cannot outrun.
Creating beauty when you face death head-on, is the ultimate fuck you to mortality.
It says so much about the creative spirit that, when faced with death, you choose to create one more time. Most of us would curl up in a ball and cry.
It says that creativity is who you are and you have no choice but to express yourself in your own way, to let your soul breathe and, hopefully, to connect with others who need your words and your music - which is the ultimate fucking gift.
Gregg Allman does it with power and class and emotion in this song. Fucking amazing.
Bowie did it too. He too died from cancer; he knew it was coming. His last album was called "Blackstar", and on it was a song called "Lazarus".
With these lyrics: "Look up here, I'm in heaven, I've got scars that can't be seen; I've got drama can't be stolen, everybody knows me now, look up here, man I'm in danger, I've got nothing left to lose, I'm so high it makes my brain whirl, dropped my cell phone down below, ain't that just like me?"
The video for Lazarus is haunting.
By the way - FUCK CANCER.
I worship the creative process in any form or format. I believe creativity comes closest to capturing what it means to be human.
I especially appreciate it when it expresses hard truths head-on. No bullshit. Because that is what we all avoid.
I am glad to get a taste of Gregg Allman's final solo album. It will be mine on September 8.
My life will be better for it.