Thursday at the Rose: Bassist Oteil Burbridge, formerly of Allman Brothers Band, is back on the road

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Multi-instrumentalist discusses tour, music camp, studio plans.

Oteil Burbridge has lived a charmed musical life. The Florida-based musician, bringing Oteil & Friends to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Thursday, Sept. 8, has been playing bass alongside future legends and certified rock royalty since he left Washington, D.C. to play Top 40 covers in Virginia Beach in the early 1980s. He continues that trend on the 11-city tour featuring Melvin Seals (keyboards), Steve Kimock (guitar), Eric Krasno (guitar) and Johnny Kimock (drums).

While Burbridge isn’t a household name, he is a monster multi-instrumentalist known for his four, five and six-string bass playing. He was a founding member of Aquarium Rescue Unit in 1991 and formed his own band Oteil and the Peacemakers in 1998. He also joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1997 and remained with the group until its demise in 2014.

There was a stint alongside his late brother, Kofi, in the Tedeschi Trucks Band from 2010 to 2012. In 2015, Burbridge started playing bass in Dead & Company, led by Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The group, which also features John Mayer, was out on its annual summer tour in June and July.

Burbridge isn’t just focused on the road. He will soon begin work on a covers album of ballads written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. He recently wrapped up the ninth year of his summer music camp, the Roots Rock Revival. This year’s attendees worked with and saw performances by a roster of participants including John Medeski, Luther and Cody Dickinson, Nikki Glaspie and Roosevelt Collier.

Burbridge recently took some time from his home in Boca Raton to answer some questions about the camp, his upcoming destination recording session and this tour with the Dead and Allman-adjacent musicians.

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Q: How was this year’s Roots Rock Revival?

A: It was just out of this world. This was our eighth year. We started it nine years ago, but we took off one year because of the pandemic. It takes time to dial those things in but, boy, did it get dialed in this year. There were so many highpoints, and the spot is just amazing. Big Indian, New York, is by Woodstock so it’s just perfect at the beginning of August. My wife and kids were up. It was so great. The campers loved it.

Q: I hear you’re working on an album of Garcia-Hunter ballads. Is that something you can talk about?

A: Yes, I’m going to go to Iceland in December and record it. I didn’t realize it was going to be nighttime most of the time, so the vibe is going to be the Aurora Borealis over the whole record of these Garcia-Hunter ballads. It’s going to be cool doing all of these songs like that. It’s going to be perfect. I’m really excited about going in there and trying to capture a vibe.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Q: What kind of set can folks expect from the Oteil & Friends show?

A: There’s a lot of overlap, obviously, but it’s all different. When we have Melvin, I tend to work in a lot more Jerry Garcia Band stuff. He’s the best. He’s just an old school trooper. He’s always in a pleasant mood. He’s just warm and super nice. Every night he just sets bonfires, it’s so great. We’ve got Steve Kimock and Eric Krasno so I’m hoping to do original stuff by both of them. We’ll do some of my original stuff. If we can talk Melvin into doing a couple of his original tunes, we’ll do those. It’s just nice having such great people and players to mix it up with on stage. It’s been really fun.

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Q: Anything we missed about the tour?

A: I’m really just excited about coming in with this lineup. Everybody is excited to play together. We can’t wait. We’re going to be coming in hot. We’re going to try to pull from all of these different influences. We’re going to be doing some bluegrass tunes. We’re going to do everything. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to celebrate. We’re in weird times and it reminds me how precious all the good moments are. You know, if your health is good and nothing really bad is happening, you’re just blessed. In these weird times I really want to make it a point to turn up the celebration part of the good moments we’re having so we can put something in the gas tank for when we get back into traffic.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Oteil & Friends featuring Oteil Burbridge with Melvin Seals, Steve Kimock, Eric Krasno and Johnny Kimock

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8; doors open at 6 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$63

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: https://oteilburbridge.com

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