Duane Betts brings ‘high octane’ rock show to Crystal Bay Casino
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. – Duane Betts was born and raised on a diverse palette of sounds ranging from Van Halen to Run-D.M.C. His wanderings into professional music began in Los Angeles at the age of 18. During his high school years, he had the unique experience of being home-schooled while touring with his dad, Dickey Betts, becoming a fixture on the road alongside the Allman Brothers Band. He further honed his skills by joining his father’s solo band, a dynamic that was central to his musical development. With his father constantly returning from tours with a guitar in hand, music was an ever-present force in their lives.
Betts is currently focused on forging his path as a solo artist, carving out a distinct singer-songwriter identity within the Southern rock tradition. The desire to express his full personality and create a body of work under his own name was a driving force for Betts in this pursuit.
Having spent two decades in the music industry, Betts recently introduced his debut solo album, “Wild & Precious Life,” reaching no. 15 on the Americana Album Radio Chart. This album stands as a testament to Betts’ distinct interpretation of American rock & roll, seamlessly blending elements of blues, rock, folk, and country. It pays homage to musical roots while also embracing contemporary influences.
Crafted in 2022, the record features an ensemble of musicians, with notable guest appearances by Marcus King, Nicki Bluhm, and Derek Trucks. The songs delve into themes such as patience, love, and sobriety. “Wild & Precious Life” encapsulates overcoming adversity, cherishing fleeting moments, and discovering joy in the present.
Betts started writing music for the album during COVID while nestled away with his wife in their house in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While Betts had previously released an EP in 2017 and contributed to two records with the Allman Brothers Band, it was during this period that he discovered his voice as a singer, a skill he ventured into much later in his musical career, having primarily identified as a guitarist.
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi played pivotal roles in the creation of Betts’ solo record. Tedeschi generously opened the doors of her personal studio to facilitate the project. By the end of 2021, plans were set in motion, and come spring of 2022, the recording process was underway. Prior to hitting the studio, Betts spent significant time in Florida, drawing inspiration from where his ancestors came from. This connection ran deep, as his paternal grandfather hailed from the same state.
Through reflections on family and the profound love of marriage, Betts delved into the trials and triumphs of his battle with addiction. Ultimately, this odyssey led him to an unbelievable sense of completion, and a return to the very essence of his beginnings.
Betts can only write songs in an environment free from distractions. This becomes particularly challenging while on the road, where finding that necessary space can be a struggle. It’s when he has the luxury of a more relaxed schedule that he can truly establish a productive rhythm.
Typically, he begins with a melody, allowing it to serve as a compass in the creative journey. Songwriting is a process of exploration, stumbling upon fragments that resonate and eventually coalesce into a coherent composition. There’s no precise formula; it’s a blend of trial and error, a mysterious alchemy that defies easy explanation.
“It’s just a matter of being lucky enough to grab the spirit when it comes over you. You can’t just pick up a guitar once a month and expect to write five songs,” Betts said.
Tyler Greenwell played a crucial role in assisting Betts in perfecting “Under the Bali Moon,” a standout track and a personal favorite of Betts from the album. Interestingly, the song drew inspiration from some of Jeff Buckley’s sound. Another cherished piece is “Circles in the Stars,” a song dedicated to his wife.
Betts emphasized the importance of striking a delicate balance between honoring his father’s distinct guitar harmonies and the instrumental style reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. They worked together to ensure the music maintained its unique identity, avoiding any hint of being overly derivative.
Betts will be playing on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. at Crystal Bay Casino located at 14 NV-28, Crystal Bay, NV 89402. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20 at Tixr.com or $23 at the door.
“It should be a pretty high-octane rock and roll show. Hopefully everyone leaves feeling better about the world,” Betts said.
Zoe Meyer is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication for Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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