Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH
8:30 pm show, Buy Tickets
“I know all about guitar players – I’ve seen the very best,” Gregg Allman once said about his longtime music director, Scott Sharrard. “He understands that you don’t need to play just for the sake of playing…he leaves plenty of room for everyone else to do their thing, but when it’s time to solo, Scott delivers, boy.”
Recorded during his time with the Hall of Famer, Grammy nominee Scott Sharrard’s latest album Saving Grace (September 21 / We Save Music), is distinctly Southern in spirit and blues at its core. Produced by Sharrard with Scott Bomar and Charles Martinez, the sessions took place in Memphis and at the historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Half the album features the Hi Rhythm Section (Howard Grimes, Reverend Charles Hodges and Leroy Hodges), and the other half with renowned Muscle Shoals musicians, David Hood, Spooner Oldham (‘The Swampers’) and Chad Gamble. The LP also includes Gregg Allman’s last-known original, “Everything a Good Man Needs,” a co-write with Sharrard, featuring Taj Mahal and Bernard Purdie on drums.
“These guys are legends and heroes of ours who have played on so many life-changing records,” Sharrard says. “This record was steeped in the best the South has to offer. We cut the rhythm section and lead vocals live on the floor, direct to tape. Old school. We let the songs and the band speak. We also had some of the best barbecue and soul food you could ever imagine, and a lot of laughs and good times with our heroes. How can you lose?”
Born on the day his hero Freddie King died, Sharrard’s travels to the heart of the American South began as a teenager in Milwaukee, surrounded by Mel Rhyne, Buddy Miles, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison and Clyde Stubblefield. “They were our local bar bands!” Scott remembers. “All those cats schooled me in different ways, backstage, on gigs and at jams.”
Sharrard was mentored by powerhouse ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ singer and guitarist Willie Higgins, and a local, one-named legend, Stokes. Sharrard soon graduated to occasional dates in Chicago, learning alongside two fabled Muddy Waters sidemen, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins.
“I grew up on the music of the Allman Brothers,” says Sharrard. “I consider first hearing them to be the ‘Big Bang’ moment for me as a pre-teen. I’ve always been chasing what I like to call ‘real rock ‘n’ roll,’ a blend of blues, jazz, soul, country and folk – with the central goal being to create an original sound of your own. In that respect, working with Gregg just solidified everything I’ve believed since I was a kid.”
Allman covered Sharrard’s “Love Like Kerosene” on 2015’s Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA, and again on his final solo album, the posthumous, Grammy-nominated Southern Blood, featuring their Grammy-nominated, Best Americana Song co-write, “My Only True Friend.”
“Gregg had a pure passion and heart,” Sharrard says of his friend, “He always generously supported my songwriting and singing,” Even though we were a generation or two apart, we had somehow subscribed to the same school of rock ‘n’ roll song craft, rooted in the blues. Learning to protect the art and craft of being a musician and songwriter with him for a decade molded my own creative life in profound ways. His constant encouragement and support of my solo efforts throughout our time together also gives me the will to carry on the tradition and push the boundaries forward.”