Allman and his boy, Derek, have left their mark together, creating music captured for posterity on a CD entitled Temporarily Breathing.
The Allmans, along with father and son team Allen and David Diffee, recently released the self-produced CD under the aptly titled band name Fathers and Sons. It’s a disc that crosses the generational gap, proving that good music is good music, no matter your age.
Richard, 50, who currently lives in Raleigh, says Derek, 21, has always been interested in music, having formed a band with David Diffee called Stitch which toured and even won a battle of the bands contest here in Fayetteville, playing its own brand of Generation X rock. But then Derek attended college and learned there is much more to the musical lexicon than Staind, Chevelle and Mudvayne.
“He went to college and ‘got educated,’” said Richard, who has been playing music off and on with partner Allen Diffee since 1980. “He came home and said, ‘you know, Dad, Bob Dylan is pretty good. The Beatles are pretty good.’”
Derek’s epiphany about the timelessness of good music led all four to retreat to Richard’s basement studio to create a CD chock full of influences from rock’s biggest names — Dylan to John Fogerty, the Allman Brothers (no relation) to Pearl Jam.
The resulting musical stew is a pot of feel good rock ‘n’ roll, utilizing a wide range of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica and jaw harp.
Perhaps the best track on the CD, which is consistently good from beginning to end, is “Days in July,” a rollicking number that is infused by multi-instrumentalist Richard’s rolling banjo and saturated with upbeat and heartfelt lyrics such as “With a little bit of love and patience everything will be all right/Like Days in July it will never be cold outside.”
Fair warning: If you’re a fan of the painfully introspective beats of shoegaze rock or the kill ‘em all attitude of death metal, this probably isn’t the disc for you.
The band keeps things percolating on “Questions for a Simple Man,” implementing a multi-guitar attack reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Outlaws, then kicking it into Allman Brothers territory with Dickie Betts-approved licks from Richard and some excellent slide work by Derek that is reminiscent of the late, great Duane Allman.
Derek’s plaintive fiddle stands out on “A Lot of Good People,” offset by a chiming acoustic that brings to mind Roger McGuinn and the Byrds. Again, the lyrics and feel of the song are decidedly upbeat, despite a maudlin beginning in which the singer says “he left with a 20 and the clothes on his back;” eventually, the singer finds renewed faith in humanity as he learns “A lot of good people live in this world/They help the lost people find their way.”
The rest of the songs are pretty much in this same vein. This is not “message” music: Fathers and Sons doesn’t want to change the world or tell you who to vote for — they simply want you to rock, and when appropriate, to slow down and just roll with the good time tunes and “hurts so good” ballads that fill the disc.
And unlike most “basement tapes,” the sound of the CD is just as warm as the lyrics; the guitars and drums and bass lines have a retro, analog feel, as if everything was played through an old Neve tube console — surprising since Richard said the project was created using PC-based software and solid state modeling amps. Despite the use of thoroughly modern production techniques, every song drips with that tube warmth and feel of an early-1970s circa LP; it’s so authentically old school that I found myself longing for a lava lamp, beanbag chair and some shag carpet. If you still have a mullet, you’re golden.
Both the Allmans share vocals on the CD, while the elder Diffie contributes vocals, as well as keeping the beat with his metronome-like drum work. David Diffie’s bass is melodious, yet not too upfront in the mix.
“We’d like to maybe play some gigs, maybe get down to Fayetteville for a show or two if some club will have us,” said Richard, “but we didn’t go into this thing looking for fame and fortune — it is just something that combines the love of music shared by a couple of dads and their sons.”
I can, without hesitation, say that in this case the old bromide “like father like son” has never sounded better.
If you would like to learn more about the band or buy the CD, check out the following Web sites: www.myspace.com/temporarilybreathing or www.kunaki.com/sales.asp?PID=PX0050L95R.