Ragged & Dirty By Devon Allman

January 13, 2015

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Sometimes it’s not who you know but what genes you share. And so it is with Devon Allman who is connected to a father named Gregg and an uncle named Duane. He may not have grown up with his father or met his uncle but he certainly inherited the music genes that run in the family.

Now in the third decade of his career, he has to be one of the busier musicians working today. He continues to front Honeytribe, the band he founded, as well as touring and recording with the super group The Royal Southern Brotherhood. In addition to his band affiliations, he has now about to release his second solo album titled Ragged & Dirty.

For the first time in his career, Devon left his southern comfort zone behind. He traveled to Chicago and not only used musicians from that city but had Grammy winning producer and songwriter Tom Hambridge on board as well. Hambridge was a wise choice as the production is impeccable and he co-wrote four of the 12 tracks.

Devon’s music and original compositions have always been rooted in the rock and blues that have been associated with The Allman name. “Leave The City” is a stripped down affair featuring only Hambridge’s drumming supporting his guitar and bluesy lead vocal. The nine minute instrumental  “Midnight Lake Michigan” proves that he can hold his own on an extended track with an improvisational feel as his guitar thunders and wails. Many times it is a slow blues piece that defines an album and so it is with the slow-building “Back To You.”

The title track is a Luther Allison composition, which is now taken in a funky direction due to a thumping bass line by Felton Crews. Hambridge’s “Leavin’” finds him making each note crystal clear in a precise performance. It is interesting to hear him and additional vocalist Wendy Moten transform the Spinner’s “I’ll Be Around” from soul to blues.

Devon Allman has established an identity firmly rooted within a rock and blues fusion sound. Ragged & Dirty is his latest stop along a career path that was set in place at birth.

 


Turquiose by Devon Allman

March 27, 2013

When you release an album and your last name is Allman, people will pay attention. This brings us to Devon Allman and his solo debut album, Turquoise.

Devon is the son of Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers. His parents divorced while he was an infant and thus he had little contact with his famous father until he was a teenager. Allman was originally influenced by hard rock bands such as Kiss, but he has since then settled into a rock/blues fusion sound that is associated with his father/The Allman Brothers.

He formed the band Honeytribe in 1999 that is now on hiatus, as most of his attention and energy has been directed toward his involvement with his new band/supergroup, Royal Southern Brotherhood and a solo project (the main subject of this review). Other members of his Royal Southern Brotherhood include vocalist/percussionist Cyril Neville, guitarist Mike Zito, bassist Charlie Wooten, and drummer Yonrico Scott.

Turquoise is Devon’s first solo release. It was recorded as a basic power trio with RSB band mate Scott and bassist Myles Weeks, with a few guests scattered among the 11 tracks.

Most of this Allman’s solo music falls into a southern rock and electric blues groove. He is an impeccable guitarist who is a credit to his last name. His lyrics may need some honing here and there but the music is catchy and gritty. Devon is fully able to carry the sound with his guitar runs and vocals.

“When I Left Home” is his best lyrical creation, as it contains wonderful imagery. It also contains some slide guitar play by Luther Dickinson, which fills in the sound and is the perfect foil for Devon. This autobiographical song leaves you wanting more of the same. “Yadira’s Lullaby” moves in a different direction and it features some smooth acoustic guitar play.

“Time Machine” moves in a subtle jazz direction. The only non-original song is a cover of the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks tune, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Samantha Fish duets on the vocals in a track that is very different from what surrounds it.

At this point in his career, Devon Allman is still a work in progress. Turquoise is a good beginning for this second generation Allman musician

Article first published as Music Review: Devon Allman – Turquoise on Blogcritics.