By Chris Epting

Photos by Kimberly Annette

It’s so hard to believe that Duane Allman was just 24 years old when he was killed on that motorcycle back in 1997, but then again, the Allman Brothers Band all looked older than their years, which may have been a Southern thing or a musician thing or just an Allman Brothers thing, but when you think about Duane, and you think about his playing, I mean, come on! could that guy really have been just 24 years old? but there’s no denying that’s how old he was when he crossed the intersection at Hillcrest and Bartlett, down in Macon, Georgia, where the band was all living in this great big house, just a few miles from the accident site, which today is a bleak and anonymous junction with no sign, no flowers, no nothing, just a thickness in the air and a sadness in the wind that seems to envelop you, but then as you stand there on a cold and rainy day, when all of a sudden you start hearing music off in the distance, or maybe it’s just in your head or in your heart but wherever it is, it’s real, and it kind of sounds like “Whipping Post,” and then it kind of sounds like “Statesboro Blues” and “Midnight Rider,” and then when you realize that Duane is laid to rest just a few minutes from this site a little ways from where Elizabeth Reed rests, and then it all kind of makes sense—that the music never really goes away in Macon, especially at the spot where the spirit of Duane Allman left this world, and even though the legend says that he hit a peach truck, just remember that that’s just a legend, and not true at all, and the only real truth that matters is that on October 29, 1971, right where you happen to be standing, there was a horrible accident, and soon after, a young man died, and just a year later, around the corner, the Allman Brothers’ bass player Berry Oakley also lost his life in a motorcycle accident, which underscores why when you drive around Macon you are breathing Allman air and feeling the Allman pulse pretty much wherever you go, so make sure you come on down here at some point, and by all means, pay your respects where the man they called “Skydog” split for the heavens, and then wander and wander and wander some more until your soul is all full of the sacred Southern sounds birthed and blessed by this distinctly American band.

 

DUANE ALLMAN WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

THE BIG HOUSE WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE

ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER ITUNES | AMAZON

CHRIS EPTING |  WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | BOOKS BY CHRIS EPTING | WEBTALK RADIO: BACKSTAGE – ONSTAGE – ON THE RECORD

KIMBERLY ANNETTE| WEBSITEFACEBOOK | TWITTER

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