Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MY CROSS TO BEAR - A MEMOIR BY GREGG ALLMAN: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
MY CROSS TO BEAR
BY GREGG ALLMAN
with Alan Light 
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As one of the greatest rock icons of all time, Gregg Allman has lived it all and then some. For almost fifty years, he's been creating some of the most recognizable songs in American rock, but never before has he paused to reflect on the long road he's traveled. Now, he tells the unflinching story of his life, laying bare the unvarnished truth about his wild ride that has spanned across the years.

The story begins simply: with Gregg and his older brother, Duane, growing up in the South, raising hell with their guitars, and drifting from one band to another. But all that changed when Duane and Gregg came together with four other men to forge something new—a unique sound shaped by soul, rock, and blues and brimming with experimentation; a sound not just of a band, but of a family.

Bringing to life the carefree early days of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg holds nothing back—from run-ins with the law to meeting girls on the road, from jamming at the Fillmore East to experimenting with drugs. Along the way, he goes behind the scenes of some of greatest rock music ever recorded, without shying away from the infamous and painful deaths of his brother, Duane, and Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley. Speaking for the first time about the profound impact that his brother's death had on him, Gregg offers a tribute to Duane that only a younger brother could write, showing how, to this day, he still confronts the grief of losing his big brother, even as Duane continues to guide and inspire him.

Setting the record straight about the band's struggles in the face of death, Gregg shows how the decision to persevere came with a heavy price. While the rock and roll excesses of drugs, alcohol, and personality clashes led to a series of breakups that culminated with the band's permanent reunion in 1989, Gregg fought his own battle with substance abuse, going to rehab no less than eleven times and floating through a string of failed marriages, including his tabloid-frenzied relationship with Cher, before finally cleaning up once and for all.

Capturing the Allman Brothers' ongoing, triumphant resurgence as well as his own recent fight against hepatitis C, Gregg presents a story as honest as it is fascinating, providing a glimpse inside one of the most beloved and notorious bands in the history of rock music and demonstrating how, through it all, the road goes on . . . forever.


PRAISE FOR MY CROSS TO BEAR:
In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul… In the end, Allman, writing with music journalist Light, has produced a fiercely honest memoir.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 This is a story about musical brotherhood. Rich and moving... Nothing less than profound. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years.— Kirkus Reviews 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gregg Allman is one of the original members of the Allman Brothers Band and a legend of American music. A recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and continues to make music as a solo artist and with the Allman Brothers. A multiple Grammy Award winner, he has sold millions of records around the world, with his most recent album, Low Country Blues, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard chart. He lives in Georgia. Alan Light is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The former editor-in-chief of Spin and Vibe magazines, he is a two-time winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing.  MY VERY PERSONAL THOUGHTS/REVIEW:MY CROSS TO BEAR is the compassionate and candid memoir by Gregg Allman. Allman is one of the most legendary American recording artists of the last four decades along with being a well deserved member of the Rock ‘n‘ Roll Hall of Fame. As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg decided after years of so many unauthorized reports and rumors that he was at a place in his life where he was ready to set things straight.

In MY CROSS TO BEAR, I found Gregg’s narrative very much like one might feel were they just sitting around with him and listening to him talk to you about his life. Facing the essence of his past head on, Allman doesn’t shy away from anything or anybody. Complete with the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” that include his addiction to alcohol and drugs, his numerous marriages, and enough fodder to fill any tabloid, Gregg Allman of course talks about the loss of his older brother, Duane Allman, and friend Berry Oakley, the band’s bassist. These losses shaped the man that Allman has become as well as the life he has lived. With fame and fortune, the ups and downs are many and often amazing to believe Gregg survived. It seems incredible when reading about Gregg’s many health issues including his liver transplant, that he is still here to tell this amazing story.

The Allman Brother is never far from discussing his love of music and how his special musical genre incorporates blues, jazz, as well as rock (often referred to as Southern Rock). The story of how the brothers started out having lost their father at a very early age and being raised by his beloved mother, Gregory as his good friends call him, writes about the brothers' passage from that first guitar to their local fame starting in the late 1960s, growing up in Daytona Beach, there is more than just that one connection that made this a very special memoir for me to read. With my husband also playing in a local band during that same time period as when Duane and Gregg were getting started, it was so interesting to read how Gregg wrote about people, places, and events we personally know about. In fact, the “foot shooting party” is one that my husband attended, as he and the Allman brothers ran in some of the same circles due to their shared musical interests. Also, at least two of the clubs that Gregg played at were owned by my parents. Although the name of the owner is not correct in the book (which I can only assume is due to memory loss over the years, or incorrect research from an assistant), I can remember like it was yesterday how my mother was never pleased when Gregg came to sit in with the band in our club/bar. We would laugh at her because she was running a bar, my dad would tell her, not a church. However, she was always very traditional and not into the long hair and outfits that Gregg and other rock groups wore. Her “soul/R&B group” always wore matching outfits which she liked much more. So these personal experiences about Gregg made this memoir that much more interesting for me to read.

I think most memorable is the way Gregg Allman describes his love for his brother. Duane has been recognized as one of the most gifted guitar players of all time and to think he died at the age of 24 has to make one wonder just how much he would have accomplished had he not died in that tragic accident. I found Gregg’s reflections on this subject to be honest and heartfelt. It is hard not to feel Duane’s influence throughout this amazing memoir. MY CROSS TO BEAR is going to surprise many who read it, I believe, because of how well written and interesting it is whether you are a fan or not. From the Allman Joys to Fillmore East, from Cher to the “Big House” museum in Georgia, MY CROSS TO BEAR is one honestly delightful memoir not to be missed. The “rambling man” tells it like it is and if you aren’t a fan already, you will be as you will see why Gregg writes, “Music is my life’s blood”.
 
 


GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO KIMBERLY AND MY GOOD
FRIENDS AT WILLIAM MORROW 
AND HARPER COLLINS, I AM SO
THRILLED TO HAVE A COPY OF GREGG
ALLMAN'S MEMOIR, MY CROSS TO BEAR, 
TO GIVE AWAY TO A LUCKY FOLLOWER 
 
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GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MAY 15
GOOD LUCK!

64 comments:

debbie said...

What a shame he didn't get your parents name correctly in the book. But, you do have some very interesting memories. I think this sounds like a very insight into the life of a musician. I would enjoy reading it.
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tgleichner said...

I would love to win this for my mom whose favorite band is The Allman Brothers. Thanks to her I have loved them for many years and know she would let me borrow it when she was done. Thanks:)

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lag123 said...

I would love to hear the stories that Greg Allman has to tell.

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rubynreba said...

I would enjoy reading about Gregg Allman since I have not ever read about his life.
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an interesting person=an interesting memoir
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Pamela Keener said...

I have been a fan of The Allman Brothers band and would love to read this book. Thanks for the insightful review and giveaway.
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