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Published: 2013/02/15
by Brian Robbins

Devon Allman
Turquoise

Ruf Records

You can dwell on Devon Allman being the son of Gregg all you want; it really has nothing to do with the music on Devon’s new solo album Turquoise.

Does the son sound like his old man when he cranks on the bluesy growl? Sure – but that’s in his genes, folks … he can’t help it and doesn’t need to. The lad is a mean picker as well – and if his “Yadira’s Lullaby” (a solo performance on a 3-string cigar box guitar) is one of sweetest things you’ve heard since Uncle Duane’s “Little Martha”, well, so be it. The elder Allmans don’t have the market cornered on soulful and sweet … and Devon comes by it naturally without it sounding affected or forced. What would sound that way is if he tried to be something he wasn’t.

When a true soul man delivers, you feel like you’re listening in on someone else’s conversation. The masters sound like they’re singing to someone, rather than simply singing a tune … and Turquoise proves Devon Allman to be a master. Dig the smolder of “Time Machine” and “Strategy”: the latter features a snaky-assed guitar solo by guest Bobby Schneck Jr; the former some rumpled-bedsheets picking by Allman hisself. Vocal-wise, this is a natural place for Devon Allman. In short, he sounds believable.

Ron Holloway’s sax joins forces with Allman’s laid-back guitar and tell-it-like-it-is vocal to turn “Into The Darkness” into a heartfelt testimony of a father’s love for his child while “Homesick” uses an unhurried riddim as the underpinnings for a traveling musician’s thoughts about being separated from his family. “Key Lime Pie” is a big ol’ dollop of love surrounded by aqua-colored waters; “There’s No Time” employs a Latin beat to drive home the urgency of the singer’s feelings; and Luther Dickinson’s slide guitar is the ideal syrup to add to “When I Left Home”’s fist-pumping, go-it-on-your-own message and sing-along chorus. Allman and guest vocalist Samantha Fish can even make you forget about the million or so times you’ve heard Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” – they know enough to quote the original, but sing it for themselves at the same time.

In the end, you could say that the music on Turquoise has more to do with classic Boz Scaggs at times than The Allman Brothers, as far as inspiration goes. Whatever: this is Devon Allman’s album, through and through – and one to be proud of.

*****

Brian Robbins keeps his key lime pie in a battered cooler over at www.brian-robbins.com.

Comments

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jambandguy February 22, 2013, 16:29:30

This kind of thing always confuses me…Turquiose being great leaves me not knowing whether to route for it or not…only because I really like Royal Southern Brotherhood as well…I hope he can do both!

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