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From Beatles to the ABB

Allen Woody grew up in Nashville, TN, listening to the blues, country and rock oldies. He took up the bass at age 14 after seeing Paul McCartney play with the Beatles. Soon after, he heard the Allman Brothers Band on the radio and became interested in exploratory Southern rock.

He majored in music at Middle Tennessee State University where he became proficient in a number of genres and on a variety of stringed instruments. As a professional musician, Woody was known for his custom-made instruments and his versatility, his work incorporating a double-necked combination guitar and mandolin and a sitar-like bass he designed and had made to order in the mid-1990s.

Woody paid his dues in his early career working as a salesman at Gruhn Guitars in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, where he met many of the city's top musicians. One of those musicians, Artimus Pyle, a former drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, introduced him to Butch Trucks who suggested he audition for the Allman Brothers Band's open bass slot.

Further Down the Road With the Mule

Woody joined the ABB as bassist in 1989, along with guitarist Warren Haynes. They toured with the band and recorded the album, Seven Turns. After touring annually and appearing on additional albums, Haynes and Woody turned a side project, Gov't Mule, into a full-time recording and touring unit in 1997.

The Southern-fried power-trio built a hard-rocking, jam-band following based on their incendiary live performances. They also recorded five albums, including Life Before Insanity and the double-live album Live With a Little Help From Our Friends. Allen stopped by the Gibson Guitar offices in 1998 for a candid interview that provides his candid insights into the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule.

Allen Woody was found dead in a Queens, N.Y., hotel room on Saturday Aug. 26, 2000; he was 44. The exact cause of his death was not determined. He is survived by his wife, Jenny, daughter, Savannah, and his father, Doug.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2002 - 11:51 AM
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