by Rachel Reeves
If they’re popping a bottle of champagne onstage during their BeachLife Ranch set, Donavon Frankenreiter and Devon Allman will have just set a world record.
Their show at BeachLife is scheduled for the final day of a 49-day tour, during which the singer-songwriter duo is endeavoring to play 50 shows in all 50 of the United States.
Currently, three musicians hold the record for playing 50 shows in 50 states in 50 days: Frank Turner, George Thorogood, and The Melvins. Frankenreiter and Allman are playing two shows in two states on the first day of the tour so they can complete the national tour in one day fewer.
“When I knew the date of BeachLife Ranch, I made the agents work backward from that,” Frankenreiter said in a recent interview. “I didn’t want to end this in, like, Kentucky in a little bar somewhere. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Kentucky, but I thought it’d be pretty cool to do the celebration at BeachLife.”
Frankenreiter, who has played every BeachLife Ranch and is part owner of BeachLife Festival, grew up in Southern California, so the end of the whirlwind tour with Allman is a homecoming of sorts. He came to music by way of professional surfing, and for him, the road always ends at the ocean. You can hear the ocean in his music, which sounds like it belongs on a beach at a summer barbecue or on a road trip along a highway through the desert, somewhere open and buoyant.
Surfing and touring led Frankenreiter around the world. Both were inroads into the world, into people and countries and cultures. Both also taught him about presence.
“You know, things in surfing happen in a split second and you travel a lot on the road just to play for an hour,” he said. “You can go all the way to Japan for a day just to play on stage for an hour. So you got to really enjoy the moment. That’s really what the road has been for me.”
The road is the theme of Frankenreiter and Allman’s national tour, which they’re calling See It All, and of the album they released on June 23 to commemorate it. Tracks on the album, called Rollers, feature the sounds of horse hooves and trains on railroads; lyrics memorialize the call of adventure and wanderlust.
Frankenreiter and Allman hatched their plan to tackle the world record for the fastest tour through all 50 states when they were together on the Allman Family Revival Tour in late 2022.
On the road, they wrote some songs, together with Luther Dickinson of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi All-Stars. Some of those songs appear on Rollers.
“All these songs are about getting out there, even if you just want to see a different part of your city – you don’t have to go far to see it all,” Frankenreiter said. “If you take a wrong turn, it might lead you down a path that you never thought you’d go. That’s sort of the theme of the tour and just everything, you know?”
Gigs on the See It All Tour are 75-minute sets featuring songs from the new album and some of each artist’s own music.
Frankenreiter is used to the grind of a long, challenging tour. Once, he did 40 consecutive shows. Recently he did 32 shows in 32 days across Europe.
What’s different this time is that each show will be in a different state.
“We’re covering a lot of ground,” he said. “It’s going to be a little intense.”
Frankenreiter and Allman will be sharing a tour bus. Joining them is a film crew that will be documenting the whole experience for a TV series or a music documentary.
Some days of the tour involve 12 hours on the road and an arrival that coincides with the pre-show soundcheck. Alaska and Hawaii, for which the musicians have to board airplanes, are the riskiest legs. A missed or rescheduled flight could mean a derailed record attempt.
“Why did I come up with this idea?” Allman joked to a Pollstar reporter before the tour began. “The closer it comes, it’s like, ‘Nice job, idiot.’”
Allman is, of course, music royalty, albeit of a hardscrabble kind. He’s been known (and awarded) as a bluesman, following the soulful lineage of his legendary father, Gregg Allman. He’s appeared on many of the world’s biggest festival stages, and co-founded the supergroups Royal Southern Brotherhood and The Allman Betts Band, amassing a recording catalog of 11 albums.
See It All began on August 5 with a show in Annapolis, Maryland, and then a three-hour drive north for a show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. On September 14, Frankenreiter and Allman fly to Anchorage, then make their way through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona before playing Las Vegas and then flying to Honolulu. The final leg is a five-hour flight back to Los Angeles in time for BeachLife Ranch.
“Oh, it’s gonna be pretty awesome,” Frankenreiter said. “But hopefully we’re just there celebrating with champagne.”
Donovan Frankenreiter and Devon Allman play BeachLife Ranch September 22