Not many musicians can make the claim they grew up in a commune in Kingston, Ontario, but such was case for Devon Sproule. Now in her late twenties and safely ensconced in Charlottesville, Virginia with her singer/producer husband, Paul Curreri, she has released her fifth album, Don’t Hurry For Heaven.
Her music crosses a lot of lines stylistically. There is folk, country, bluegrass, and even a little jazz at times. Running throughout it all is a talent for lyrics. She is at heart a storyteller who is able to imprint images into the minds of her listeners. Songs of life, relationships, and some personal philosophy thrown in for good measure are all entertaining, challenging, and they make you think.
Sproule's songs have a unique structure as the tempos change yet form the perfect background for her words. Her phrasing is both precise and enthralling. The music is an eclectic combination, something which has been emblematic of her career. Black Uhuru’s “Sponji Reggae” is removed from its funky roots and resurrected here as a bluesy track. Curreri joins her for a duet which makes it a wonderfully interesting cover of a song you would not associate with her.
“You Need A Maria” has a more complete sound as some strings are added to the mix. The title song is about as country as she gets as Cole’s steel guitar propels the song gently along. “A Picture Of Us In The Garden” is a jazz-tinged glimpse of her domestic life with a little humor added. Even one of her heroes, Jesse Winchester, makes an appearance on the track, “Ain’t That The Way.”
She is ably backed by her own guitar playing, the electric guitar of her husband, bassist Andy Whitehead, drummer G. Vaughan, and pedal steel guitarist deluxe BJ Cole.
The album is well produced and engineered, giving it a clarity that is important for a lyricist. And I always appreciate when the lyrics are included, which here come in a nice booklet.
Don’t Hurry For Heaven is consistently engaging and pleasurable, demonstrating that Devon Sproule continues to evolve and hone her craft. This album will remain an interesting stop on her musical journey.