Low Country Blues, by Gregg Allman

While the most tried-and-true way to say "I'm a serious American roots artist" is to book Emmylou Harris to sing backup, a close second is to get T-Bone Burnett to be your producer. If this Allman-Burnett collaboration is predictable, it's also terrific. The Gregg Allman name evokes southern rock's worst excesses, but the singer-keyboardist is deeply steeped in traditional blues as well—and the latter is what's on display in his first solo record in 14 years.

Most of the songs are classics by the masters who shaped Allman's work. The hotshot band features Dr. John on piano. As in most recent Burnett projects, the players find a warm, distinctive groove and then largely stay out of the way. That's great, because Allman sounds better than ever.

Steve Thorngate

The Century managing editor is also a church musician and songwriter.

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