Duane Betts is gearing up for the release of his debut solo album, Wild and Precious Life, and has shared a new single, featuring Derek Trucks, called Staring at the Sun.
The track is reportedly sparked by something Trucks said to Duane about his father, Dickey Betts – the Allman Brothers Band’s iconic guitarist.
“I was inspired by a conversation I’d had with Derek,” explains Betts. “He was talking about my father’s guitar playing and he told me, ‘Your dad is one of those players who’s not afraid to stare directly into the sun,’ and I loved that line. I was already working on a new song, and Derek’s sentiment gave the song a center.”
Of course, there are few players better placed to assess Dickey Betts’ guitar style than these two and they share a musical kinship, given Trucks’ own connections with the Allman Brothers Band.
For his part, Betts has said he “wanted to make a record which would really capture that old school Florida vibe.” Stare At The Sun certainly does that, but it also entwines some beautiful, fleeting nods to Betts Sr.’s playful major pentatonic runs and chiming tones.
Betts has spent much of his playing career serving as a sideman, whether in his father’s group, Dickey Betts Band and Great Southern, or the folk rockers Dawes. He then formed the Allman Betts Band in with Devon Allman and Berry Oakley Jr. in 2018.
“It felt like the right time to make something that was entirely my own vision,” says Betts of his first solo album. “This is a record that guitar players will love, but at its core, it’s really a song record. It’s an album about who I am, where I come from, and what I believe in.”
Trucks isn’t the only big name guitar player to drop in, either. Blues/Southern rock maestro, Marcus King also appears to take a solo on the song Cold Dark World.
Meanwhile, in a recent Guitar World interview, Derek Trucks named 11 guitarists who shaped his sound and took the chance to discuss his admiration for the Allman Brothers Band’s other guitarist. “Duane Allman was an almost mythical character in my house...” says the slide virtuoso. “The starting point for me when it comes to guitar.”
Wild And Precious Life is out July 14. Head to Duane Betts’ site for more information and pre-orders.