Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

DEVON ALLMAN'S HONEYTRIBE

SPACE AGE BLUES

2011-01-04

With a name derived from their “sweet like honey, fierce like a tribe” dichotomy, Honeytribe is a three piece outfit featuring Devon Allman on guitar and vocals, Geroge Potsos on bass and Gabriel Strange on drums. Joined here by guests including Huey Lewis on harmonica and Ron Holloway on saxophone, the band lays down 10 original tunes and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s "Sir Duke". While Allman comes from music royalty as the son of Gregg Allman and nephew of Duane Allman, he doesn’t spend any time trying to mimic their sound and, instead, focuses on blues channeled through 70’s era arena rock. Bands like Journey and Foghat come readily to mind when listening to this disc with their big riffs and sing along choruses. "Endless Diamond", "I’m Ready" and "Could Get Dangerous" are great examples of the band’s hard hitting approach while the delicate "Blue Est Le Vide", the mysterious sounding instrumental "Insh’ Allah", and slow grooving ballads, "Salvation" and "Warm in the Wintertime", showcase the band’s ability to use subtle dynamics to hit just as hard as the rocking tunes. The title track doesn’t take much from the standard blues cannon but the melding of heavy rock with moody, jazz fueled saxophone breaks makes for a fine listen. The psychedelic breakdown on "Take Me to the Bridge" and the straight pop read of "Sir Duke" don’t fare as well but do showcase the band’s refusal to be shackled by expectations. This refusal is helped along by the fact that while Allman’s rich voice shares his father’s ability to stretch from a whisper to a shout without sounding strained on either end it lacks the southern seasoning that makes his father so instantly recognizable. Having his own voice frees Allman and Honeytribe from pointless comparisons to the Allman Brothers and lets it explore its own future which appears to be bright. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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