February 5, 2016
The Howard Theater, Washington, DC
By: Steve Hefter
Make no mistake, Butch Trucks likes to play! Seemingly always busy at 68 years old, his latest project, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band, rumbled it's way into The Howard Theater in early February. The Freight Train Band are Vaylor Trucks, Butch's son (guitar), the highly talented and well regarded Bruce Katz (keys), Heather Gillis (guitar), Damon Fowler (guitar), Berry Duane Oakley, Jr., son of founding Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley (bass), and along-side Butch, Tad Isch (drums).
The beautiful and relatively large Howard Theater wasn't filled to capacity, but the savvy audience clearly knew they were in for a real treat, and they were right. The band covered several well known classics such as "Ain't No Sunshine", "Only You Know And I Know", and "She Caught The Katy", as well as several Allman Brothers tunes including "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed" and the "Whipping Post" encore. Each member of the band showcased their strengths. Vaylor trucks is an accomplished guitarist with tons of attitude. Damon Fowler, who headlines shows with his own band, worked some real magic with Vaylor and the young, talented Heather Gillis. Three killer guitar players, each with their own unique style. Bruce Katz and Berry Duane Oakley played off each other the entire night and Tad Isch helped the Freight Train himself, Butch Trucks drive the band through a varied yet powerful set of music.
Immediately after sound check, I sat down with Butch for a free-flowing conversation with the legendary drummer. We discussed the formation of The Freight Train Band which led quickly to Butch recounting his first meeting with Jaimoe (Jai Johanny Johanson), the formation of the Allman Brothers Band, fishing with Duane Allman, and a whole lot more. See parts 1 & 2 under "Interviews".