Devon Allman review…November 8, 2014…

DEVON ALLMAN

RAGGED AND DIRTY

RUF RECORDS  1205

HALF THE TRUTH–CAN’T LOSE ‘EM ALL–LEAVIN–I’LL BE AROUND–TRAVELING–MIDNIGHT LAKE MICHIGAN–TEN MILLION SLAVES–BLACKJACK HEARTATTACK–BACK TO YOU–TIMES  HAVE CHANGED–RAGGED AND DIRTY–LEAVE THE CITY

Devon Allman has been working virtually non-stop since the 2012 self-titled debut of the Royal Southern Brotherhood.  Around that same time, Devon released his dazzling solo debut, “Turquoise,” as well.  The RSB released theid second album earlier this spring, “heartsoulblood,” and now Devon has released his second solo offering, the highly-adventurous “Ragged And Dirty.”  For this set, Devon ventured away from his “comfort zone” of the South, opting for Chicago, to get a bluesier sound.  Tom Hambridge serves as producer and drummer, while Devon is on guitar and vocals, Felton Crews is on bass, Giles Corey is also on guitar, and  Marty Sammon handles the keyboards.

Devon has worked diligently to establish his own identity, and this set, along with his work with RSB has done much to make him his own man, altho he is well-aware of his famous family’s heritage in the Southern-Rock genre.’

Devon leads off with the super-charged boogie that drives a classic cheatin’ tale, where “Half The Truth is still a lie!”  “Can’t Lose “Em All” has Devon on a losing streak, but keeps on pressing because he knows “the tables will turn someday.”  Devon and Wendy Moten give an authentic read to The Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around,” while, at the other end of the spectrum, trance-like guitars and percussion drive this ultra-rare cover of an Otis Taylor song, “Ten Million Slaves,” reminding us of centuries of social injustices.  Devon’s deep-blues solos coupled with Marty’s keyboard work make “Back To You” an excellent ballad, while the set closes with the poignant “Leave The City,” very sparsely-arranged with only Tom’s beats over Devon’s resonator guitar and vocal pleas to return to a simpler way of life.

We had two favorites, too.  Devon breaks off some seriously-funky blues over cool echo-effect vocals as he recounts the thrill of “chasin’ that twenty-one,” “Blackjack Heartattack.”  And, Devon shows a softer side with the wistful story of life and its myriad of choices, “Leavin, but I don’t know where!”

Devon Allman has grasped a solid writer’s mentality over the course of the cuts that comprise “Ragged And Dirty.”  He’s learned to convey the story of the song in the simplest way possible, and he has done so while forging his own identity as a musician.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The  Nashville Blues Society.

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