That tow-headed kid on the cover of the 1973 Allman Brothers album? It’s Vaylor Trucks.
The little girl sitting on her father’s lap in the interior photo of this same disc? It’s her sister, Melody Trucks.
The scrapbook? “Brothers and sisters.”
So when brother and sister decided to start a band, there was really no question what to call it. Melody said she didn’t even try to get her named Sister and Brother. Brother and Sister rings true, and besides, she thinks it deserves the top spot.
“I don’t dispute my own prowess,” she said, “but my brother is absolutely phenomenal.”
Vaylor and Melody are the two oldest children of Butch Trucks, the late drummer and founder of the Allman Brothers Band. Recreating the sound of their father’s old band is Brother and Sister’s goal.
“It’s a specialty type of project,” Vaylor said in a phone interview from his home in Atlanta. “A lot of people do a similar thing but we want to differentiate ourselves by being as true to the spirit as possible in which the songs were planned.”
He said that doesn’t necessarily mean a note-for-note recreation of the original recordings. The Allman Brothers Band was legendary for its improvisations, so not leaving a little room for the musician’s creativity wouldn’t be in keeping with the spirit of the songs, he said.
Vaylor and Melody were both musicians growing up, but she was a flautist and he played in college bands. They didn’t really play together until she joined him on stage at an open jam in Tallahassee in college, and even that didn’t really stick.
“It’s only in the last few years that our music has converged,” Vaylor said.
Their new band is a mix of former players from the Melody Trucks Band, bands from Vaylor, the Yeti Trio and Bonobos Convergence, and the drummer from their father’s Freight Train Band.
They first got together, with different players, a few years ago at a festival in Colorado and it went well, Vaylor said. But it’s not meant to be a full-time touring band, just something to pull together once in a while when he’s not working with other musicians or in the studio recording what he lovingly calls songs with “low commercial potential”. He still plays in Yeti Trio and writes for a new project, the Standard Deviators.
Brother and Sister have booked a short spring tour and plan to perform at several festivals over the summer, including Suwannee Rising in April at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak.
Melody and Vaylor are also beginning a new series of concerts in Jacksonville. Their band won’t be there (“We’d be way too loud for Blue Jay,” Melody said) but siblings will invite people they’ve met to share the stage at the Blue Jay Listening Room in Jacksonville Beach.
For the first two shows of the series, they invited Jimmy Hall, singer with Wet Willie and Jeff Beck. He’ll be there at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, singing, playing and sharing stories. Tickets cost between $50 and $80.
Melody said Hall was an easy choice to be their first guest. She has known him since she attended his wedding when she was 7 years old. “We’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing musicians in our lives,” she said.
“They are friends and friends of friends,” Vaylor said.
The plan is to host a show or two about once a month. The North Mississippi All-Stars’ Luther Dickinson will join them at the Blue Jay on April 2-3. They are already calling future guests.
“To be able to do it at the Blue Jay Listening Room, that place is magical,” said Melody, who will also be launching her own band later this spring. “It’s extremely intimate, it maxes out at around 80 people. It’s like someone is playing in your living room. You’re encouraged to sit down and be quiet and listen to this music.”