When you release an album and your last name is Allman, people will pay attention. This brings us to Devon Allman and his solo debut album, Turquoise.
Devon is the son of Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers. His parents divorced while he was an infant and thus he had little contact with his famous father until he was a teenager. Allman was originally influenced by hard rock bands such as Kiss, but he has since then settled into a rock/blues fusion sound that is associated with his father/The Allman Brothers.
He formed the band Honeytribe in 1999 that is now on hiatus, as most of his attention and energy has been directed toward his involvement with his new band/supergroup, Royal Southern Brotherhood and a solo project (the main subject of this review). Other members of his Royal Southern Brotherhood include vocalist/percussionist Cyril Neville, guitarist Mike Zito, bassist Charlie Wooten, and drummer Yonrico Scott.
Turquoise is Devon’s first solo release. It was recorded as a basic power trio with RSB band mate Scott and bassist Myles Weeks, with a few guests scattered among the 11 tracks.
Most of this Allman’s solo music falls into a southern rock and electric blues groove. He is an impeccable guitarist who is a credit to his last name. His lyrics may need some honing here and there but the music is catchy and gritty. Devon is fully able to carry the sound with his guitar runs and vocals.
“When I Left Home” is his best lyrical creation, as it contains wonderful imagery. It also contains some slide guitar play by Luther Dickinson, which fills in the sound and is the perfect foil for Devon. This autobiographical song leaves you wanting more of the same. “Yadira’s Lullaby” moves in a different direction and it features some smooth acoustic guitar play.
“Time Machine” moves in a subtle jazz direction. The only non-original song is a cover of the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks tune, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Samantha Fish duets on the vocals in a track that is very different from what surrounds it.
At this point in his career, Devon Allman is still a work in progress. Turquoise is a good beginning for this second generation Allman musician.