Chuck Leavell

Fans Come Out for Capricorn Experience

Macon’s Capricorn Records released many classic albums of southern rock and soul throughout the seventies. The Allman Brothers Band were easily considered the biggest name on the label. Though the Allmans were not in tow, plenty of great Southern/blues/rock talent took the stage at Chastain Park on this night. Cowboy-Capricorn-promo-Brown-Boyer-Stewart-Bramblett-Talton

The evening kicked off with a dynamic set from Cowboy, which featured a recently reunited Tommy Talton and Scott Boyer, the band’s two singer/songwriters and main architects. Cowboy ran in the same circles as the Allman Brothers during the early days in Macon, and have the musical chops to prove it. Talton is still the A-number-1 guitar slinger he was back in the heyday of Capricorn. And both Talton and Boyer have the vocals to make you feel like you’ve time warped back to the seventies.

Playing the set with Cowboy was the amazing Randall Bramblett, who can do it all: saxophone, clarinet, keys and a terrific singing voice, as well. Bramblett blended in and out, seeming to play a little bit with every act up there. And of course, the Randall Bramblett Band. That goes also for the talented Paul Hornsby and the inimitable Col. Bruce Hampton. Hampton walked on, sang and walked off a few times during the evening, showcasing his powerhouse blues-rock voice. He blew away everyone in attendance. Chuck Leavell also made an appearance during Cowboy’s set, which excited the crowd even further.

Mobile, Alabama natives Wet Willie stunned the audience with its still-feels-like-the-seventies sound and high octane enthusiasm. Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Hall wowed the crowd, giving 110% and every ounce of energy he possessed for this set. Picking songs mostly from their seventies glory days, Wet Willie also had fun with some covers, including a killer version of Taj Mahal’s classic “She Caught The Katy.” The band wrapped up the set with their top 10 hit from 1974, “Keep On Smilin.” This was a show-stopper and every fan knew every word (and sang along). Earlier this year, Wet Willie released Miles of Smiles, a live album on Hittin’ the Note Records.

Chuck Leavell closed out the show with a resounding set that eventually brought all the Capricorn artists back out onstage. Along with Bramblett, Leavell dove into what sounded like an amalgam of southern blues rock and jazz fusion. It was a very good sound and was very well received. During the entire evening, fans were graced with the presence of talented, professional musicians. Every soul on that stage deserved to be there.

Leavell, recently back from Paris (where he was once again recording with the Rolling Stones), paid tribute to the Allman Brothers when he covered their excellent instrumental jam “Jessica” (which could be considered the Southern Rock anthem). Leavell is promoting his latest release, Back to the Woods (Evergreen Arts), a blues piano tribute album

For the closing number, everyone returned to the stage for a rousing rendition of the Blind Willie McTell classic, “Statesboro Blues.” It was not a sellout crowd at the Chastain, but as Talton put it, “The people that were there wanted to be there.” And while the show ended just shy of 11:00PM (house rules!), those fans would have remained well after midnight and into the morning had the musicians continued. The Capricorn Experience could and should become an annual event. I’d buy a ticket.


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