Halley Devestern Band review..January 3, 2014

HALLEY DEVESTERN BAND

FABBO! BOFFO! SMASHO!

MUSCLE MEMORY–KANGAROO MOMMA–MONEY AINT TIME–TORE UP (FROM THE FLOOR UP)–BOIL–AMERICAN PAIN–CODE 9–THE JESUS I KNOW

With a voice as big and brassy as New Yorker Halley Devestern’s, the comparisons to Janis Joplin and Etta James are inevitable.   (And, yes, she has performed with Big Brother and the Holding Company!)  We are going to take it just a bit further, tho.  On her latest album, entitled “Fabbo!  Boffo1  Smasho!,” she mixes the unadulterated sassy strut of Janelle Monae with the quirky, spit-in-your-eye swagger of Neko Case.  And, the eight band originals herein combine all her influences, including rock, soul, blues, and a hefty dose of funk.

It’s that shot of funk that kicks off the proceedings, entitled “Muscle Memory.”  It’s a not-so-subtle shot at an ex-lover that is driven by a punched-up horn section.  “Boil” plays out over a thumping bass line and is reminiscent of classic Curtis Mayfield, as racism and the Right are taken to task.

She doesn’t stop there, tho.  “American Pain” looks at the quick-money hope of Vegas, with its endless “cups of quarters and a St. Jude candle,” as the house rakes in the remnants of their broken dreams.  She closes the set with the gospel fervor of “The Jesus I Know,” who “lets the kids play on his lawn,” and practices “be and let be.”

We had two favorites, too.  Edd Kalehoff adds organ over Halley’s vocals as she takes on those who worship the almighty dollar, reminding us all that “time may be money, but Money Ain’t Time!!”  And, perhaps the most infectious, good-time groove is laid down in “Tore Up (From The Floor Up!), a tale of excesses encountered by traveling musicians, including the “Johnnie Walker flu,” and losing one’s underwear!

Halley Devestern is able to convey her emotions thru her voice and the contents of the outstanding material that comprises “Fabbo! Boffo! Smasho!,” and blues fans reap the bounteous benefits!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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