To call Gregg Allman one of the fathers of Southern rock is accurate, but despite its weight, the title ultimately underrates the musician's pivotal role in the evolution of American roots music in the rock 'n' roll era. Allman, in addition to establishing himself as one of the greatest blue-eyed shouters ever to let it rip, is a master synthesist, one whose heady explorations in blues, hard rock, jazz, country, folk and gospel paved a long road that countless musicians have traversed since the late '60s. Obviously, his greatest contributions have come with the iconic Allman Brothers Band, who emerged from the ashes of Gregg and brother Duane's previous band, The Hour Glass. Ironically (and sadly), it was Duane's tragic death in 1971 that inspired Gregg to establish a solo career. He dropped his debut, the critically lauded Laid Back, two years later. Though Allman has released no more than a dozen albums since then, he has crafted a sound that stands apart from his work with The Allman Brothers Band. Rather than guitar-heavy jam rock, Gregg, on his own, spotlights his love of Southern-fried horns while creating a woozy, introspective blend of country-blues and soul.