A new book by best-selling author Alan Paul explores The Allman Brothers Band’s major 1970s run. St. Martin’s Press will publish Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the 70s on July 25, 2023.
The book delves deeply into the years leading up to and following the publication of Brothers and Sisters in 1973, the band’s best-selling record with over seven million copies sold. The Brothers and Sisters book, which explores the making of the recording and presents a wider cultural history of the time in honor of the recording’s 50th anniversary, is based on in-depth research, historical documents, first-person interviews, and a wealth of previously unreleased interviews conducted by the band’s “tour mystic,” Kirk West.
According to the publisher’s statement, the Allman Brothers Band had a phenomenal run that helped define the time, rock history, American society, and politics between Duane Allman’s death in 1971 and the band’s dissolution in 1976. They were crucial in Jimmy Carter’s victory, had a close relationship with the Grateful Dead, and served as an inspiration for the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the entire Southern Rock movement. The union of Gregg Allman and the legendary performer Cher also placed the pair at the forefront of a rapidly developing celebrity media culture.
The pages of Brothers and Sisters are filled with a diverse cast of intriguing, significant personalities. not just Jimmy Carter and Cher, but also Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, and several more. The Jam at Watkins Glen, a performance starring the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, and The Band that brought over 600,000 people to a tiny village in upstate New York and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in July, is one of the book’s many in-depth chapters. The investigation and writing in Brothers and Sisters regarding the relationship between the Allmans and the Dead and what exactly pushed them apart is the most in-depth yet. Additionally, segments are devoted to the creation of Gregg Allman’s Laid Back and Dickey Betts’ Highway Call, two solo debuts. The whole backstory of Cameron Crowe’s movie Almost Famous, which was primarily based on his experiences touring with the Allman Brothers Band for a 1973 Rolling Stone cover story, is also detailed in the book. By the first page of the book, you’ll feel the band, hear the guitars, hear the elemental voice, and experience the enchantment of our most unforgettable band, according to Crowe. On this voyage, there is no better tour guide than this.
Content from Kirk West’s unpublished interviews animates the 352-page Brothers and Sisters. According to the author, “Kirk was researching a book while the band was broken up in 1986 and 1987 and he interviewed all the surviving members extensively: Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, as well as many other friends and associates. The subjects were talking to someone they deeply trusted, the band was twice broken up with no plans to reunite and everyone was bracingly honest and deeply reflective and insightful. The interviews were an absolute gold mine, most of which not even Kirk had ever listened to.”
Chuck Leavell also writes, “For a fledgling 20-year old piano player in 1972, being asked to join the Allman Brothers Band was like entering Heaven. There were ups and downs during the making of Brothers and Sisters, but it still stands as the band’s most popular and best-selling record. Alan has captured the era with deep research and his savvy writing.”
Warren Haynes also added, “No journalist knows the ins and outs of the Allman Brothers Band better than Alan Paul.”
Founding member Jaimoe also told, “Alan Paul is our Jimmy Olsen. He’s one of the only cats who even knows what questions to ask. I’m glad he’s now told the story of this era.”