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By Anthony Small

The Allman Betts Band and special guest Marc Ford will rock The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano this Saturday, March 7. These sons of the founding members of the iconic Allman Brothers Band are carrying on their fathers’ legacies while paving their own road in rock and roll. Last year, Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman) and Duane Betts (son of Dickey Betts) formed The Allman Betts Band, which also includes bassist Berry Oakley Jr. (son of Berry Oakley).

I caught up with Devon Allman and Duane Betts, in advance of their sold-out show at The Coach House.

AS: How is the tour going, and what can the fans at The Coach House expect?

DB: Man, the shows have been awesome.  The band is really playing at a high level night after night.  We are really looking forward to playing in Southern California.

DA: Fans at The Coach House can expect high energy, passion and lots of guitar playing. We play songs from our debut record, Allman Brothers catalog and from our other heroes.

AS: The upcoming album is recorded on analog tape like debut Down to the River. Why is that important to the band, and is there a different approach involved in recording “old school?”

DB: We obviously love the sound of tape. Having done the first record at Muscle Shoals Studios, it just felt right to use the same approach for our follow-up with Matt Ross-Spang at the helm once again.

DA: The main difference in the approach is we like to get as much of the live take of the song we can get. It’s how our heroes recorded, and it’s got a better overall feel and sound.

AS: Last year at the Doheny Blues Festival, the band met with the high school music students via Music Preserves Foundation. Why is taking time for young people important?

DB: It’s always great to meet with young people and help inspire them to follow their dreams like we have followed ours.  That’s what it’s all about.

DA: The next generation of musicians will always be of major importance to us, because they will be keeping the art form of live music alive someday. We constantly have young artists open shows for us, sit in with us, etc. We do everything possible to foster growth and encourage the youth to play with spirit. Our time with those students was wonderful. It’s very fulfilling to inspire others.


Teaching with the Tools of Music

Thank you to Capistrano Unified School District and RH Dana ENF Principal Andrea Meissner for having me as a “Principal for a Day” on Friday. CUSD hosted community leaders, local business owners and elected officials in their annual “Principal for a Day” event, providing participants with a glimpse into a day in the life of a public school principal. Later, we all gathered to share our insights during a special luncheon catered by San Clemente High School culinary arts students. The culinary arts program is one of 28 career and technical education pathways offered in partnership with College and Career Advantage.

It was amazing to see how RH Dana ENF Music teacher Valery Fischer and staff integrate music and songs throughout the day to teach the Exceptional Needs students reading, days of the week, colors, meal time, etc. The students, 95% nonverbal, use multi-modal communication methods like signing and nodding, and the music and repetition really connects with the kids. I have deep appreciation for the educators and students and the perspective they gave me.

Community members were invited to be “Principals for a Day” by Capistrano Unified School District. Photo; Courtesy of Anthony Small

Ocean Institute Celebrates Food and Music

Ocean Institute Fest Culinary-Music Festival, previously known as the Jazz Festival, will take place on March 27-28. On Friday, March 27, guests will experience an all-inclusive Waterfront Food Festival featuring the best restaurants in Orange County. Saturday’s festivities include a six-course dinner and a performance by Voices of Hope, as seen on America’s Got Talent. Both nights directly support the Ocean Institute’s Adopt-A-Class program that provides underserved students with hands-on STEM education. Tickets at or call 949.496.2274.

Anthony Small is the Executive Director of Music Preserves Foundation, the 2019 Chairman of the City of Dana Point Arts and Culture Commission and a singer-songwriter. Small and his family have lived in Dana Point for 22 years.

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