Gregg Allman's Nashville and country roots were saluted on Wednesday night (June 7), when the CMT Music Awards opened with an all-star tribute to the late rocker.
Former Allman Brothers Band guitarist joined country stars Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Charles Kelley for a rendition of the Allman's "Midnight Rider" while photos of Allman were shown on video screens beside and at the rear of the stage.
Allman, who died May 27 from liver cancer at the age of 69, was born in Nashville and attended a military academy in Lebanon, Tenn., before moving to Florida when he was 14.
Allman and the Allman Brothers are often cited as an inspiration by contemporary country artists, and Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke tells us how wide-ranging that influence was:
"I know that, for me, I know that the Allman Brothers started for me they were more of a jam, Southern jam kind of boogie. Actually a Southern blues jam band. I looked at that band as the fathers of what was to become what they call Southern rock. I mean, in our book if you didn't like the Allman Brothers you were sacrilegious...They were like I said they were the fathers of what would become Southern rock and man what an institution they were."
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.