Devon Allman struggled for many years to find his voice. Growing up in the massive shadow of his uncle Duane and his father Gregg, Allman was no doubt haunted by the overwhelming fears of comparison to the legends of his lineage.
A few years back, however, Allman got into a great place, realizing it was okay to sound a little like dear old dad here and there. And he does. But herein lies the rub. Devon may experience moments of Brothers-like sound here and there, but he is one hundred and ten percent original, and his band Honeytribe helps to keep him real - even more so.
Allman takes the blues and does something we rarely see anymore. He makes them his own. His blues have all the earmarks of traditional blues, combined with a youthful, jam-band flair and a fresh approach that brings the blues into the 21st century.
From the highly infectious opening track “Could Get Dangerous” to the absolutely beautiful, mood soaked “Salvation,” this is a new kind of blues, with soaring sax and guitar, and of course, the unmistakable unique vocals of Devon Allman. “Salvation” may be my personal favorite track. I just keep backing it up and playing it again.
The title track “Space Age Blues” is another winner, and I was more than a little caught off guard by Honeytribe’s brilliant cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” “Blue Est Le Vide” is a cool little two-minute acoustic instrumental followed by “Warm In Wintertime,” a really nice love song that gives Devon a real vocal workout.
“I’m Ready” rocks out Gov’t Mule/ZZ Top style and sounds great with the volume know turned way over to the right, and the set closer is a very interesting, Pink Floydish instrumental called “Insh’allah,” featuring some really nice guitar work.
Space Age Blues is a damn fine album from a band, and a man, that continues to surprise and amaze. The next generation of Allmans, different, but with just as much joy.
-Michael Buffalo Smith
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