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.


I’m No Angel: Live On Stage (DVD) by Gregg Allman

December 14, 2012

2012 has been a good year for Gregg Allman. The Allman Brothers received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, plus he published his autobiography, My Cross To Bear. To capitalize on those milestones, Cherry Red Films will release a somewhat odd DVD on December 11, 2012 that contains some good music.

The title of the DVD, I’m No Angel: Live On Stage, gives the impression that it was a performance of his 1986 iconic album of the same name. The music was taken from a November 1988 concert at The Cannery in Nashville, Tennessee. That particular tour was in support of his Just Before the Bullets Fly album. Thus four of the tracks are from that release, with only three from the album advertised in the title. It was also a short performance of just under an hour. He was the opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan, so his set was adjusted to reflect that fact.

The good news is that there is some very good music contained on the DVD. His solo career began shortly after his brother Duane’s death and while he continued to perform and record with The Allman Brothers, by 1988 his solo act had been honed and he had accumulated a good catalogue of his own music. His backing band of guitarist Dan Toler, drummer Dave Toler, bassist Bruce Waibel, keyboardist Tim Heding, and percussionist Charles Trippy had backed him in the studio and were tight on stage.

Three songs are from the album I’m No Angel. “Don’t Want You No More,” “It’s My Cross to Bear,” and especially the title track are more raw and stark than their studio counterparts. Four tracks are from Just before the Bullets Fly. The title track, “Demons,” “Fear of Falling,” and “Slip Away,” show just what a good musician and vocalist Gregg Allman was live on stage.

The highlight of the concert was the old blues classic, “Statesboro Blues,” which was a part of the Allman Brothers repertoire. It may not have the guitar power of the original but it was a wonderfully gritty version of the old Blind Willie McTell tune from the 1920s.

The sound is excellent as the various instruments and vocals are clear and distinct. The camera angles are limited and the picture quality is average. It was probably another one of those concerts that was not meant for general release at the time, so the recording process was haphazard.

I’m No Angel: Live On Stage may not be the definitive Gregg Allman concert experience as the song selection is a bit dated and the performance is short. Still, what is present is a fine introduction to his solo career.

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Article first published as Music DVD Review: Gregg Allman – I’m No Angel: Live On Stage on Blogcritics.