Duane Betts - Wild & Precious Life CD
Duane Betts' debut solo album brings a fresh perspective to southern rock with sharply-crafted songs and exquisite guitar work that captures the emotional release of overcoming struggle, appreciating the fleeting nature of life and the joys of being present. Recorded at Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks' Swamp Raga Studio, it features guests including Derek Trucks, Marcus King, and Nicki Bluhm.
The son of legendary guitarist Dickey Betts, Duane grew up on the road with The Allman Brothers Band, watching hundreds of shows from the wings as a teenager. He spent the better part of a decade playing guitar in his father's band, Dickey Betts & Great Southern, and traveled the country as a touring member of Dawes. He also released an EP of his own songs, 2018's Sketches of American Music, and two albums with The Allman Betts Band in 2019 and 2020.
Betts started writing Wild & Precious Life when the world slowed down in 2020, in a state of reflection. He wrote some of the songs while at home in Florida, in the presence of his larger than life father, who is now 80. Others capture the joy of finding his soulmate, and getting married in 2019. His journey to sobriety influenced the songs, too. "We're here for such a short period of time," Duane explains. "We see people come and people go -- people we love and people we miss. We've all lost loved ones, yet we're still here. You really have to take advantage of your time and make the most of it."
While it took nearly a lifetime to get to this moment of making his solo album debut, the songs, and the recording, happened quickly and organically. Attending a birthday party in the Florida Keys, Duane found himself talking to Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. "I told them I wanted to make a solo album and really capture that old school Florida vibe," says the Sarasota native, "and Susan said I should just use their studio." Duane assembled his dream team of musicians -- including guitarist Johnny Stachela, bassist Berry Duane Oakley, keyboardist John Ginty, and drummer Tyler Greenwell -- and headed to Tedeschi and Trucks' Swamp Raga Studio in Jacksonville, where Wild & Precious Life was recorded to analog to tape during live-in-the-recording-studio performances over the span of just a couple weeks.
Wild & Precious Life offers up a timeless version of American music -- a cosmic, joyous mix of blues, rock, folk, and country, brimming with twin guitar harmonies. "Waiting on a Song" is a timeless tribute to patience, faith, and the muse itself, laced with fiery fretwork from Duane's Les Paul Gold Top. "Circles in the Stars" is equal parts cowboy campfire song and folk ballad, with Duane singing a love letter to his wife over the earthy resonance of a vintage, post-WWII Martin D28 acoustic guitar that once belonged to his father. Even the album's exploratory and epic instrumental track, "Under the Bali Moon," seems to conjure up its own storyline, thanks to a combination of evocative slide guitar and non-western twinkles of piano.
Waiting on a Song
Colors Fade (feat. Nicki Bluhm)
Saints to Sinners
Stare at the Sun (feat. Derek Trucks)
Under the Bali Moon
Cold Dark World (feat. Marcus King)
Circles in the Stars
Release date 07.14.23