By the time Duane Betts began working on Wild & Precious Life — his triumphant debut solo album — he’d already spent two decades creating his own version of guitar-slinging, story-driven American rock & roll.
“It felt like the right time to make something that was entirely my own vision,” he says. “This is a record that guitar players will love, but at its core, it’s really a song record. It’s an album about who I am, where I come from, and what I believe in.”
The years leading up to Wild & Precious Life‘s creation were a whirlwind. Duane cut his teeth with the bands Backbone69 and Whitestarr, then spent the better part of ten years playing guitar alongside his father — legendary Allman Brothers co-founder Dickey Betts — as a member of Dickey Betts & Great Southern. He’d also travel the world as a touring member of Dawes before releasing an EP of his own songs, Sketches of American Music, in 2018. As the decade drew to a close, Duane co-founded The Allman Betts Band, releasing two records in 2019 and 2020.
Even so, the need to create a full-length solo album — one that nodded to his musical roots while simultaneously pushing ahead into new territory — continued to gnaw at him. “I wanted to make a record which would really capture that old school Florida vibe,” says the Sarasota native. Following his instincts, Duane assembled his dream team of musicians — including guitarist Johnny Stachela, bassist Berry Duane Oakley, keyboardist John Ginty, and drummer Tyler Greenwell — and took up his old friends Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on an offer to record at their own Swamp Raga Studio in Jacksonville. Wild & Precious Life was recorded to two-inch analog tape during a series of live-in-the-recording-studio performances in 2022.