Macon sits at Georgia’s intersectoin of history and music. There are plenty of great attractions to visit duirng a tour of the city, but my favorite during my short visit was The Big House: The Allman Brothers Band Museum.
The Allman Brothers were one of the pioneering bands in the music today called Southern Rock, blending traditional rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz and blues styles. During the early 1970s, the band lived, wrote and rehearsed in a rented house on a hill overlooking downtwon Macon.
‘They moved in here in 1970 as an unknown band,’ said E.J. Devokaitis, the museum’s curator. ‘By the time they left in 1973, they were one of the most popular bands in the country, but they had lost their two leaders in motorcycle accidents.’
Visitors to the house today will find that it has been transformed into a museum that pays tribute to the band and their musical achievements. Near the entrance, a television plays a continuous loop of live concert footage, helping to familiarize guests with the bands’ characteristic dual-guitar solos and other signature sounds.
From there, galleries throughout the house help to tell the bands’ story, illustrating it along with way with various instruments, props, costumes and other artifacts from the group’s heyday. Music buffs will marvel at the numerous drums and unique electric guitars on display. Other exhibit areas deal with life on the road, the band’s touring crew and the equipment necessary to stage a 1970s rock show.
Upstairs, two of the house’s bedrooms have been re-decorated as they were during the band’s time living there, with the help of one of the founding members’ wives. Visitors can also see the re-created ‘getaway room,’ where the musicians and their families would escape the music business proceedings downstairs to relax in a typical 1970s ‘hippie’s’ den.
I’m not old enough to have remembered the Allman Brothers in their heydey. But after an hour exploring this museum, I came away with a great appreciation for these musicians and how they helped to shape the modern musical landscape.
The museum’s front rooms now house museum displays.
An original Allman Brothers drum set.
Artwork memorializes the band and their era of rock ‘n’ roll.