ELMORE MAGAZINE | APRIL 18 2019
By Tom Clarke
For almost 50 years, Southern rock music has thrived, but too often spoken of like a bastard child. Gregg Allman rightly dismissed the tag whenever he heard it applied to The Allman Brothers Band. But, it did hang suitably from the guitars and mic stands of many, some closely associated with the Allmans. Add Rattlebone to the ever-growing list of musicians who still crank their guitars and keys behind steam engine drumming, playing the music graveyard-true to its roots, and singing of everyday subjects as if the Gospel.
Rattlebone boasts two direct links to Southern rock legends in fellow Nashville residents Chris Anderson and Johnny Neel. Singer/guitarist Anderson spent considerable time with Grinderswitch and the Outlaws, and with Warren Haynes, co-wrote “Old Friend,” which appeared on the Brothers’ final album, Hittin’ The Note. Singer/keyboardist Neel was a member of The Allman Brothers Band for their most successful resurrection in 1989. He co-authored four songs for their comeback album, Seven Turns. Anderson and Neel wrote every great song on World’s Gone Crazy. With bassist Dennis Gulley and drummer Daryl Burgess, they shoot consistently, with the high caliber one would expect.
“Don’t Go Down That Road” bursts forth as an anthem of basic advice from a father to a son, and like an old rattletrap train running on nuclear power, ivories sparkling from its undercarriage. Anderson conveys the message powerfully, in an even, soulful voice. They address the obvious in the title song, but with rhythm and blues fire, and an Anderson guitar solo that’s like a bear trap. The sexy and funky “What a Man’s Made Of,” the New Orleans-celebratory “Party in the Street,” and the dreary “Should Have Seen it Coming,” each glow uniquely, but nevertheless flow molten as one. Johnny Neel sings the lead on his own “Innocent,” his only spotlight here, but one that stands out as the album centerpiece. Neel’s voice conveys Gregg Allman grit and Dr. John gris-gris, and the band plays his blues as if pulled from a swamp draped in Spanish moss. Rattling bones with meat and potatoes rock ‘n’ roll is one thing. Rattlebone shakes tasty seasoning all over it, and in the process, shakes a man’s soul to its core.
By Wade Tatangelo, Entertainment Editor
RattleBone with Mike Kach Group and special guests including Paul Reed Smith: 6:30 p.m. (doors), 7 p.m. (Mike Kach Group), 9 p.m. (RattleBone) on Saturday; White Buffalo Saloon, 5377 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; $15; 941-927-6655 or thewbsaloon.com.
It will be a special homecoming show for Chris Anderson on Saturday when he brings his new band RattleBone to the White Buffalo Saloon.
A gifted lead guitarist and singer-songwriter, Anderson grew up in Sarasota sharing local stages with Dickey Betts and other members of the Allman Brothers Band before joining Grinderswitch. In the mid-1980s, Anderson became a member of the Outlaws, spending years elating crowds while leading the guitar attack on such classic rock staples as their epic jam “Green Grass and High Tides,” as well as playing in the country music group Blackhawk featuring members of the Outlaws.
A falling out this past year with the Outlaws, though, set Anderson free to embark on his current project, RattleBone, which just released the debut disc “World’s Gone Crazy.” Anderson wrote or co-wrote the 10 originals and sings lead on nine of them. It’s an impressive debut, one that allows Anderson to display his many talents — which as a songwriter, at least, were stifled in the Outlaws.
Southern rock stars partner for impressive RattleBone album debut ‘
“The songwriting was all themed with a Western kick and I just felt held back creatively, I felt I didn’t want to write songs to fit a certain genre or band sound,” Anderson says by phone from Nashville when asked about splitting ways with the Outlaws. “It’s very limiting and they sensed that and after the Southern Rock cruise last year, after we had been on a ship together for a week, they called me on the phone and said they wanted to try something different. It was a surprise but it wasn’t a total shock. We all just mutually agreed to move on and this is much more rewarding.”
Anderson adds, “I feel so much better now. Otherwise, I’d still be riding that bus collecting a check and complaining.”
RattleBone features another musician with an impressive Southern rock resume, Johnny Neel, the keyboardist and singer who joined the Dickey Betts Band and then Allman Brothers for their highly successful “Seven Turns” comeback album and tour in the early ’90s. Like Anderson, Neel lives in Nashville and the two often do session work for records by other musicians.
Driving his van one day, Anderson looked down on the floor and spotted a blank CD that turned out to contain tracks from a session that he had done with Neel. It sounded so good Anderson decided to call Neel and ask him about forming a band together. “He was silent for about five seconds and then goes ‘Let’s do it,’” Anderson recalls. “I really enjoy playing together. It’s so effortless, like an old pair of blue jeans, just really comfortable and that’s why we did it.”
In many ways, RattleBone’s new CD recalls Anderson’s 1995 solo album “Old Friend,” which has rightfully been called “one of the 10 best albums you’ve never heard.” A brilliant collection of blues-rock that can be heard now streaming on Spotify, “Old Friend” features the title track Anderson wrote with Warren Haynes. Haynes would later record an acoustic version with Derek Trucks that appears as the last track on the final Allman Brothers Band studio album “Hittin’ the Note,” released in 2003.
“I thought it was cool they way they did it,” Anderson says. “That’s how we wrote it, with acoustic guitars. I had a 12 string and (Haynes) had a regular acoustic guitar. He got back to how it was originally conceived. For ‘Old Friend’ we electrified it but I have that acoustic demo somewhere.”
In addition to the new RattleBone material, attendees Saturday at White Buffalo Saloon will likely hear a song or two from “Old Friend” and maybe an Allman Brothers tunes such as the 1990 hit “Good Clean Fun,” which Neel co-wrote with Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. Of course, there’s always a chance local resident Betts will be in attendance.
“He’s just been a good friend and really gracious over the years,” Anderson says of Betts. “I remember when I had my band Southern Express playing Anna Maria Island or something and he would sit in the audience and motion for the other guitar player to give him the guitar and he’d get up and play with me. It would be my turn to solo and I would have my eyes closed and he would walk off stage shaking his head to say, ‘I can’t compete with this.’ Even in Grinderswitch, the Allman Brothers would give us their old gear. They were like our older brothers and it was such a thrill because I was so enamored by those guys.”
Allman Brothers, Outlaws collaborators Chris Anderson and Johnny Neel’s new group RattleBone to play White Buffalo Saloon.
Southern rock fans will not want to miss the Sarasota debut of RattleBone.
The new group features former Outlaws lead guitarist-singer Chris Anderson, who grew up in Sarasota, with keyboardist-singer Johnny Neel, a member of the Allman Brothers Band heard on the “Seven Turns” album.
RattleBone, which recently released the outstanding debut album “World’s Gone Crazy,” will perform 7 p.m. March 16 at White Buffalo Saloon in Sarasota. Dickey Betts Band singer-keyboardist Mike Kach will perform with his namesake group along with special guest Paul Reed Smith (PRS Guitars) and others.
Tickets are $15 and on sale now at White Buffalo Saloon (5377 McIntosh Road) as well as Fogt’s Gulf Coast Music Center (4209 S. Tamiami Trail).
For more information, call 941-927-6655 or visit thewbsaloon.com.
Hearld Turbine - Feb 20, 2019
Allman Brothers, Outlaws collaborators Chris Anderson and Johnny Neel’s new group RattleBone plays Florida premiere Saturday at Synchronicity Music Festivals’ Southern Rock & BBQ
Sarasota Post - Tuesday, Feb 20, 2019
Vicky Sullivan Interviews with Chris Anderson about his new musical venture "Rattlebone"
Dennis Maley - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019
BRADENTON — The Southern Rock and Bar-B-Q Festival takes place this Saturday at the Masonic Park and Youth Camp in beautifully-scenic Wimauma, just 27 miles north of Bradenton. Chris Anderson (the Outlaws) Johnny Neel (the Allman Brothers Band) will headline the all-star music event with their new project, RattleBone, coinciding with the release of the band's debut CD.