Friday, December 26, 2014

MUSICAL REVIEWS OF DEVON ALLMAN AND SAMANTHA FISH by WilfRaydo for CBBlues.com

WHO IS DEVON ALLMAN?

The dirty blond hair is the same, the body posture is also the same, and there are touches in the voice that have a similar genetic connection, but Devon Allman has toiled long and hard to establish his own musical identity, separate from his mega-famous dad, Gregg Allman.
 
In fact, Allman, who was raised by his mom (Shelly, not Cher) in Texas, took up the guitar on his own, and did not meet his father until he was 15 years old.



“I was 15, and I sent him a really short letter saying, ‘Hey, it’s me. Here’s where I’m at. I’m playing guitar.” I got a phone call three days later,” says Allman.

Growing up with his mom, Devon was listening to anything on the radio he could find. Often it was the Rolling Stones or Jimi Hendrix.

“My earliest years and can remember listening to music at the age of four or five. Something would come on the radio and I would always ask my mom who it was. She would say ‘That’s John Lennon’ or ‘That’s Styx.’ One time “Midnight Rider” came on, and I asked her ‘Mom who’s that?’ and she said ‘That’s your dad.'"

This young Allman did not come on the music scene riding the coattails of a famous parent. Allman has been living his own musical life for decades. After playing in local bands and working in Guitar Center in St. Louis, Allman formed Honey Tribe in 1999. One part blues, one part rock, and one part jam, Honey Tribe was named the 1999 Jam Band of the Year in St. Louis.

Devon and Honey Tribe toured for two years, took a break for a few years so that Devon could actively parent his son, then reformed in 2005. At the same time, he toured in Europe with Javier Vargas, a Spanish blues rocker. Devon and Honey Tribe continued to tour in support of his 2010 release Space Age Blues. Then, in 2011, his musical fate changed.

Royal Southern Brotherhood was formed during JazzFest in New Orleans. It combined the vocal and musical talents of Devon, Mike Zito, and Cyril Neville with the veteran rhythm section of Charlie Wooton and Yonrico Scott. Since that genesis, the band has become one of the major attractions in the music world. It tours non-stop and has just released its second record, both on Ruf Records.

After touring the world as the fiery guitarist and soulful vocalist in Royal Southern Brotherhood, Devon is still committed to performing dates with his own band. But with a renewed intensity.

His own 2013 Ruf Records debut Turquoise came a few months after the RSB’s launching record. A little more then a year later, Ragged & Dirty is Devon’s ticket to the big show.

“I have to say that playing with Royal took my career to a new level. It’s given me more confidence and a new found love for the music. I’m delighted that there’s a new shot of fire in my music.”

One can never leave a name as famous as “Allman” very far behind. There are traces of his father in his soulful voice and his uncle Duane in his innovative guitar playing. According to Devon, the name both helps and hurts. There will always be fans who come to see him out of curiosity, “But they leave having a respect for the fact that I am my own entity."

“The hurt factor for me is to not get caught up thinking about the impact that my dad and uncle (Duane) had on this genre of music. That could make me go completely insane. I can’t dwell on that. Focusing on that interferes with path and my art. I still want it to be essentially feel-based. The best thing for me to do is to concentrate on being the best musician I can be regardless of who my family is.”

Thus as one Allman institution (the Allman Brothers Band) has “retired,” Devon Allman is poised to grow his family’s musical legacy
   

WHO IS SAMANTHA FISH

Just a few months ago, very few people outside Kansas City, Missouri knew there was a young, dynamic musician named Samantha Fish getting ready to take the world by storm. In fact, it's not all that long ago that the 22-year-old singer/guitarist first discovered the blues and started paying her dues on that city's local scene. With Runaway, her solo debut, she now breaks out big time, announcing herself as a newcomer to be reckoned with.

The album's ten tracks - nine of them originals - incorporate "all the sounds I grew up with, with my own spin," says Fish, who seems to have spent her formative years in the Midwest soaking up a vast array of musical styles.

Runaway features sharp-edged, riff-driven blues ("Down in the Swamp"), breakneck boogies ("Runaway"), smoky, late-night jazz ("Feelin' Alright") as well as hints of the sultry 70s hard rock of Ann and Nancy Wilson and the 4/4 ruggedness of the Rolling Stones. Throughout, Fish demonstrates astonishing range and depth as a songwriter. Her vocals are cool, confident and nothing less than beguiling.

Backing her on this eclectic collection of modern electric blues is the same crack team that first convened for the making of Girls With Guitars. That collaboration with fellow female artists Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde, released earlier this year, already showed that Fish refuses to be intimidated, even when working with musicians more experienced than herself. "They are incredibly talented and creative, so it made for fun sessions," she says of the well-oiled studio band heard on Runaway.

Jamie Little, one of the UK's most in-demand drummers, reunites with bassist Cassie Taylor to give the record plenty of rhythmic thump. Producer Mike Zito, a St. Louis native and 2010 Blues Music Award winner, adds thick, meaty electric guitar on most cuts.

"Mike and I have known each other for a few years now, so he knew the sound and style I was after. He did a great job of taking ideas and giving them direction in the studio setting."

In between making these first two albums, Fish spent a month on the road with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde for the first leg of the year-long Blues Caravan Tour. It gave her the valuable opportunity to road-test the material heard on Runaway to a discriminating audience. With an exciting new debut album now in her back pocket, the tour continues throughout the summer and into the fall of 2011, touching down at many European and North American festivals and even taking to the seas on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in October.

The video shows Samantha Fish with the Royal Southern Brotherhood at B.B. King Blues Club – NYC  21st March 2014
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Royal Southern Brotherhood are :- Cyril Neville, Mike Zito, Devon Allman, Yonrico Scott, & Charlie Wooton




FINAL WORDS:

WilfRaydo don't often review female artist's, a situation which is about to be rectified. Samantha Fish is the whole deal. The custom Fender Telecaster fits like it's always been there. Her punchy, fluid style certainly earns her a place alongside the great blues players who've carved their own niche in the road signs at the crossroads. Her vocal abilities are powerful and subtle, she must not be underestimated. When you've played Goin Down Slow, rest awhile and then play it again. Really loud. Each time there is more to hear, subtle little runs and phrases which were hiding, waiting to be found.

You've read about Devon Allman and his talent leaks into the music. Royal Southern Brotherhood are a great band and, with The Allman Brothers calling it a day, there is a mighty void to be filled. The Brotherhood have the skills and attitude to stake their claim. They should pursue Samantha Fish, with her talent the possibilities could be endless.