December 17, 2017

Heather Gillis remembers the first and the last time she saw the late Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks. After the Allmans split in 2014, Butch couldn't resist the pull of the road, putting together a seven-piece outfit called the Freight Train Band to carry on the Brothers' tradition of improv-heavy Southern rock and blues.

He discovered singer and guitarist Gillis one night in a club in Tallahassee, Fla. Trucks was in town to speak at his alma mater, Florida State, but wanted to do a little jamming while he was there. He reached out to a friend at a nearby club, and the call went out: Musicians needed to join legendary Allman Bros. drummer onstage. The club reached out to Gillis, who'd played the club before, and she answered.

And at least initially, Butch was not impressed.

"I knew the Allmans and their music," Gillis says, "but I didn't know much about Butch or his background. I went to the club and waited my turn and eventually I got onstage. I didn't know this at the time, b...

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