Reviews

Devon Allman
Album: Turquoise
Label: RUF
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.devonallman.com

Turquoise is the first solo album by Devon Allman. Before you ask, yes, he is related to the Allmans of Allman Brothers Band fame. In fact, he is Greg Allman's son. So what style of music does he play? Well, he plays good ol' Southern blues/soul/rock, which is not a million miles away from that which his famous father an

d uncle played in the 1970's. You may think that this is not so surprising but actually it is not as straightforward as it appears. Devon grew up with his mother in Corpus Christi, Texas, away from his father and his band. In fact, Devon made his own way in music, firstly with jam band Honeytribe and more recently with highly popular "supergroup" Royal Southern Brotherhood which also features Cyril Neville and Mike Zito. Their self-titled album reached the top ten of the Billboard Blues chart in 2012 and a live album, recorded in Germany is due to be released in May.

Back to Devon's solo album. If you are looking for Allman Brothers 20- minute jams you won't find them here but if classy soul rock is your thing, you will not be disappointed. This is very much Devon's album as he wrote all the songs bar one and played all the guitars [ apart from a couple of solos by guest players].

The album gets off to a fine start with the autobiographical [and self-explanatory] "When I Left Home", which references his famous family both lyrically and musically [the latter courtesy of some tasty slide guitar by Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars].

"Don't Set Me Free" features music by Devon and Mike Zito, a catchy chorus and some excellent Hammond by Rick Steff of Lucero.

Devon has a fine, soulful voice which is amply demonstrated on "Time Machine", a lovely blues-inflected song on which Devon sounds uncannily like Boz Scaggs.

The one cover on the album is Tom Petty/ Mike Campbell's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" on which Devon duets with Samantha Fish to great effect. This is a fine version, which easily stands comparison with the original by Tom, whose music, has, no doubt, had an influence on Devon.

Listening to the next track "There's No Time", I wonder whether Carlos Santana has also had some influence on Devon's guitar style. Take a listen to the solo and see if you agree!

The second part of the album contains a quartet of really strong Southern soul performances, namely "Strategy", "Homesick", "Into The Darkness" and "Key Lime Pie". They are all great examples of Devon's ability to write and sing songs that sound like long-lost soul classics.

The final two tracks are in considerable contrast to their predecessors. "Yadira's Lullaby" is a lovely solo guitar piece that Devon used to play for his "chica" [via Skype"] on a 3 string cigar box guitar, to wish her goodnight.

The final track "Turn Off The World" is an acoustic ballad about "Turquoise", a mystical place [Curacao, actually] where Devon can slow down, "wash off that rock-n-roll" and recharge his batteries. It was written in the studio at the end of the recording of the album and is a gentle way to close what is a fine album by an artist who has clearly inherited his father's musical genes.

Peter Cowley