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Devon Allman — making music on his own terms

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Returns to the Sellersville for July 17 concert

STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media

When Devon Allman embarked on his musical journey, he was determined to do things on his own terms and without the help of his famous father, the legendary Gregg Allman.
Two decades later, Allman, 42, has blossomed into an accomplished rock and blues singer songwriter, instrumentalist and producer. Amassing a growing fan base, Allman is poised for even greater success.
“I’ve done everything on my own,” says Devon Allman, as he rides his tour bus through the Iowa countryside. “I’ve cultivated my relationship with industry people 100 percent on my own. I was never led to any meetings or introductions to people who would later be an influence on my career.”
“Last year, I hit a million miles touring,” adds Allman. “My dad didn’t ride one of those miles. I rode those miles. Inherently, I’ve just always wanted to know that I could look back on a career that I built with my own hard work. At the end of the day, your work ethic is one of the only things they can’t take away from you. I cultivated contacts. I played to ten people a night. I really worked it the old school way.“
“Ragged & Dirty,” (2014), Allman’s latest album release, offers a collection of original work, along with songs written by the album’s Grammy Award winning producer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy), accented with handpicked cover songs.
The opening song, “Half The Truth,” sets the tone with an explosive guitar driven, vocally charged track. Standouts include “Can’t Lose ‘Em All,” “Leavin,” “Midnight Lake Michigan,” “Times Have Changed” and “Ragged & Dirty.” Allman performs a riveting version of the Otis Taylor song “Ten Million Salves.” One of the album’s surprises is a fantastic remake of the classic Spinners song “I’ll Be Around.”


“I was writing songs for this record, and I hit kind of a wall,” recalls Allman. “I flipped on Pandora and the Curtis Mayfield channel, and it played other artists of that ilk. That tune came on and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I remember this song back in the day. I don’t know if I ever heard anyone cover it.’ I thought, ‘Man, I gotta do this!’”
“I really wanted this record to be strong musically, and I think we accomplished that,” said Allman. “I had a world class band in the studio that Tom assembled for me. I’ve produced other artists and produced my own records in the past, but it was really cool to hand the reigns over to somebody so competent and so well versed in his genre of music as Tom.”
“The cool thing was that we did not over prepare,” adds Allman. “We did not beat any pre-production into the ground for months on end like sometimes can happen. There were songs written for the record a year before, and there were songs literally written the night before going into the studio. And then there was one song made up right there on the spot. It was really refreshing for me.”
Oddly enough, it was the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Santana and Kiss that first caught the ear of Allman. As he grew musically, he was inevitably drawn to the work of the Allman Brothers. He cites “Layla” by Derek and The Dominos, which Allman’s late uncle Duane Allman played on, as the pivotal recording that fueled his ambition to be a musician.
In addition to his latest solo effort, “Ragged & Dirty,” Allman has released an impressive discography that includes his solo debut, “Turquoise” (2013), “Ocean Six” – “Somewhere Between Day and Night” (2003), Devon Allman’s Honeytribe – “Torch” (2006), “Space Age Blues” (2010), “Royal Southern Brotherhood” (2012) and “A Song for My Father” (2007).
“I’m a good decade or so into doing what I do,” reflects Allman. “I think I’m at a point of confidence. I think it shows in the releases from the first one to this one. I’m always going to be looking for the next sound. I’m never gonna just go, ‘Oh, I found what I was looking for and here we are.’ I’m always going to shake it up. As far as believing in what I do and the voice that I have, I’ve gotten to a pretty good place. I just try to do my thing.”
“I feel like I’m just getting started,” adds Allman. “The beauty of it is, I look back on the decade and I go, ‘Wow, I did do this on my own.’ I started this thing. I’ve grown this thing. I’ve got incredible people from musicians, producers and a good agent, tour managers, merch people. It’s a big team you have to assemble, and you assemble them very slowly. It’s very much you against the world.”
Not one to take for granted the rich music legacy that the Allman name symbolizes (along with that of many of the band’s contemporaries); Devon Allman takes his creative role among the next generation of artists seriously.
“People come out, and they don’t really know what to expect from me,” says Allman. “They leave and a lot of them say the same thing, ‘Man, we really believe that this generation is going to take good care of rock and roll and blues for years to come.’ It’s a scary horizon. B.B. King just passed away. The Rolling Stones are over 70. Clapton is talking about not touring anymore. The Allman Brothers just played the last shows. We could go on and on. When you look at the horizon of that first generation of this style of music that are going to be wrapping it up, it is up to us, Government Mule and Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks and myself, the list goes on. I think, whenever anyone comes to see any of us, they know that we’re really going to do everything in our power to keep this music vibrant, vital and meaningful for this generation.”
“I really love what I do,” adds Allman. “I love bringing music to the people. Music has done so much for me that I just want to give back to the well from which I have taken. I’m very blessed. I get to play guitar!”

IF YOU GO

What: The Devon Allman Band, with special guest Stolen Rhodes.
Where: Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville.
When: Concert is at 8 p.m. on Friday July 17.
Tickets: Call (215) 257-5808 or check www.st94.com.
Info.: To stay up to date with Devon Allman, visit www.devonallmanband.com.

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