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When you examine the career of Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band, one word comes to mind: longevity.

After largely taking 14 years off from his solo career, Allman, now 65, blew off the dust to record Low Country Blues, and he’s finally taking it on the road after its 2011 release, including a show at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Saturday, May 25.

Thanks to a career that is approaching five decades, Allman is an icon, both as the front man of the Allman Brothers Band and on his own. There have been lows as well, such as his well-documented battles with addiction, lifelong health problems, band disputes, and the death of his band mate and older brother Duane Allman in 1971.

Despite the hardships, he’s continued on, racking up hit records and playing sold-out concerts around the world.

When the Allmans founded the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, Gregg was uncertain about his future as a musician; he originally intended to become a dental surgeon, but Duane convinced him to give music a try, and he hasn’t looked back since.

When I asked Allman in a recent phone interview why it took 14 years to hear him on his own again, following 1997’s One More Try: An Anthology, Allman said it was mostly due to the death of longtime Allman Brothers Band producer Tom Dowd in 2002.

“He was more than a producer; he was a father figure,” he said. “After he died in 2002, when the idea of recording would come up, I would just change the subject.”

However, when the opportunity came to work with T-Bone Burnett in the producer’s chair, Allman decided to give it a try—although he was hesitant at first.

“Of course (Burnett) is famous for all this other stuff, and you can take all of that into consideration before you work with the guy, but it’s how the two of you get along musically and socially,” he said.

Allman was satisfied with the results.

“He was a wonderful producer. He was so much like Tommy (Dowd), but different in his own way.”

Low Country Blues became Allman’s triumphant return to solo recording, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best Blues Album. He also released his autobiography, My Cross to Bear, in 2012. The reviews for both were mostly positive.

However, Allman was too busy to celebrate: He was dealing with the after-effects of a liver transplant that he underwent before the album’s release.

“I had never dreamt that anything could be so horrendous and painful. I couldn’t play or tour,” he said about the June 2010 transplant.

In time, however, his strength returned.

“I had a tour booked the day after Christmas in 2012. When I woke up on Dec. 23, something had changed. I had strength; I had motivation. I felt like my old self, and I still feel that way. I’m so thankful to God that he gave me another chance.”

When I asked him what his future looks like, he told me that he has another solo album currently in the works, but didn’t reveal any other details. There’s also a biopic that’s in the early stages based on My Cross to Bear.

When I asked him if he’s excited about a rare appearance in the Coachella Valley, he said: “Absolutely!”

“I think that the Allman Brothers have slighted the West Coast of America terribly,” he said. “In the next three to four years, I plan to make up for all of that. I’m going to bust my ass now that I feel like the old me. I’m going to be doing some extensive touring over the next 10 years, I hope.”

Gregg Allman performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 25, at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. Tickets are $29 to $69. Call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com for more information.

Published in Previews

Jeff Bridges has a few movies in the works (he is an Academy Award-winning actor, after all); he has a newish book out (The Dude and the Zen Master, co-written with Zen Buddhist Bernie Glassman); and he’s a spokesman for an anti-hunger organization (www.nokidhungry.org).

In the midst of this busy schedule, he makes playing concerts—like his appearance at Stagecoach—seem like something thrown together at the last minute.

You might call your buddies to watch a game somewhere; Jeff Bridges plays live music for thousands of people. People have to have a hobby, right?

“We pretty much just let it fly,” Bridges said in a recent phone interview. “If people enjoyed Crazy Heart,” Bridges mentions off-hand, not really noting that he won an Oscar for his role in the film, “we’ll be playing some songs from that.”

Bridges also has some new music that he and his band, delightfully called “The Abiders,” have been working on, following up on his 2011 self-titled second album. (A delightful Big Lebowski-referencing side note: he wanted to call them “The Royal We,” but “the guys were digging the other name, so we went with it.”)

“I imagine people have had time to check out (my most recent album) by now, so they’ve probably decided if they like it,” Bridges said.

Music has been a part of the Jeff Bridges aesthetic for nearly as long as he’s been in the spotlight, as he’s been known to pull out a guitar during filming down-times at his day job.

“I’ve been playing music all my life, really. I picked up a guitar at age 12, and started writing songs not long after,” Bridges said.

During the filming of Heaven’s Gate, Bridges met roots-music super-producer T-Bone Burnett, who produced the 2011 album; Bridges hopes Burnett will be his collaborator again.

“T-Bone’s the best, and we’re old buds, so I’d work with him again anytime,” he said.

But even their relationship seems almost accidental in the laid-back way that Bridges describes it. “After the success of Crazy Heart, I thought I could parlay that into recording some tunes, so I threw the idea out to Bone, and he dug the idea. Off we went to the races, you know?”

The band consists of guys from Santa Barbara—his “homies,” as Bridges puts it.

“We have a great time together, and they’re superb musicians. I love making music, and I get to make it with my pals, so you make time for the things you want to do.”

Even the experience of being part of the Stagecoach lineup has him largely unaffected. “Playing these things can be surreal, but it’s cool.” Plus, he has friends with whom he’s sharing the lineup: “Toby Keith let us borrow his audience for the concert scenes in Crazy Heart. Nice guy.”

If you happen to come by the stage while Bridges and his buddies are playing, he does wish you the best possible experience, but the fates will also have to intervene. After all, Bridges himself has a rather Zen/Dude-like approach to the whole thing.

“I hope people enjoy the show, but I’m not one for expectations. I like to lower mine and be surprised,” he said.

Jeff Bridges and the Abiders play on Friday, April 26, at Stagecoach. The festival takes place Friday, April 26, through Sunday, April 28, at the Empire Polo Club, 81800 Avenue 51 in Indio. Passes for all three days start at $239. For tickets or more information, visit www.stagecoachfestival.com.

Published in Previews