Review: Devon Allman – Turquoise
Posted on: Sunday, Mar 10, 2013
Devon Allman – Turquoise
(Ruf Records: RUF 1186)
Surprisingly, after a 20-year career, this is the first release to only carry guitarist Devon Allman’s name after fronting his own band, Honeytribe, and also being a current integral member of the ‘supergroup’, Royal Southern Brotherhood, whose debut album last year was very well received. “Turquoise” tells of his time on the road, and life in general as he forged his musical direction, and comprises of 10 original tunes and just one cover.
Son of the legendary Gregg Allman, he was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and now calls St. Louis home. On “Turquoise” he shows a knack for a great hook and melody on a soulful, yet rocking set recorded in two different studios in Tennessee, and produced by multi-award winner Jim Gaines. The core band comprises of Allman on guitar and vocals; together with RSB compatriot Yonrico Scott on drums, and Myles Weeks on bass.
Things get off to a rousing start with the autobiographical “When I Left Home” . . . a tale of the road and more, reflecting on past and future, with guest slide guitar from Luther Dickinson . . . a great opener! The following “Don’t Set Me Free” , a co-write with his guitar partner in RSB, Mike Zito, shows off Allman’s melodic guitar work and powerful voice, with some nice backing vocals on the chorus. The pace is taken down for the gentle “Time Machine”, with some delicate acoustic and electric guitar.
He calls on labelmate Samantha Fish to share the vocals on a tough cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, whilst remaining pretty faithful to the original; “There’s No Time” has a nice Latin groove to it, and features some tasteful Hammond B3 from Rick Steff, and more lovely guitar. The second co-write with Mike Zito is in the form of the soulful ballad “Strategy”, with lead guitar solo from Bobby Schneck Jr – it’s a standout here.
“Homesick” was the first song written for the album – it’s another ‘road’ song telling of wanting to get home to family; it’s followed by “Into The Darkness”, a gem of a song celebrating when his son, Orion, arrived into the world – a nice saxophone contribution here from Ron Holloway. The sunny “Key Lime Pie” has a Latin feel again, with some stinging guitar leads – it was written for his Cuban girlfriend and conjures up images of the ocean lapping up on a Caribbean beach on a gloriously sunny day.
The penultimate “Yadira’s Lullaby” is beautiful, with some delicate acoustic guitar playing on this, the albums only instrumental. The closing “Turn Off The World” is a fitting closer to this fine release . . . it’s basically a celebration of the end of the recording, saying ‘my work is done’ and ‘switching off’, take a holiday and relax! A most confident and enjoyable solo debut, and highly recommended.
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