by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Thursday March 26th

     PASSING THE TORCH….As the ALLMAN BROTHERS Band embark on their 40th anniversary tour this year with a month long stance at the Beacon Theatre the next generation of the fabled ALLMAN family bloodline is making his own mark.
     While the peach may not have fallen far from the tree DEVON ALLMAN’S HONEYTRIBE is planting its own seed with a unique blend of Blues based Rock ‘n’ Soul and a work ethic that mirrors that of his Father GREGG.
     With a voice akin to the soulful grit of his Father and fingers that would make his Uncle DUANE eternally proud; DEVON ALLMAN is ready to carry the “Torch” for one of music’s most bountiful families.
     The Rock Rapport had the pleasure to speak with DEVON ALLMAN about his upcoming visit to the legendary Lafayette Tap Room this Thursday night.
     Ross CAT
DEVON Thanks so much for taking time out for us.  We’re looking forward to bringing you to Buffalo.
DEVON-I really appreciate you guys bringing us to town I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever played BUFFALO, I’ve heard great things about the Lafayette Tap Room.
     Ross CAT
-Congratulations on the success of your first studio release “Torch”. The record has an expansive flow that really covers a broad spectrum of sounds tempered by a seductive force.
DEVON-Right on Thanks so much I really appreciate the kind words, we are really proud of the record.
Ross CAT-
Let’s talk about one of the standout tracks on the “Torch” record a powerfully passionate instrumental called “Mahalo” which means Thank You in Hawaiian. Tell us about that song?

DEVON-I’ve always been a huge fan of the Rock Instrumental.  I think that the dynamics has something more to offer then say a Jazz or Cinematic Instrumental.
     The Rock Instrumental has it’s own really cool niche, it’s just a groovy little Art form.  It really hasn’t been done by very many artists; the select few that have ventured into that realm are bands that influenced me as a youngster like SANTANA and the ALLMAN BROTHERS.
     In all honesty I really never thought that I would ever come up with or be blessed enough to pull from the ether a strong enough melody to create an instrumental.
     I woke up in the middle of the night with the main melody of Mahalo in my head, I called my cell and sang the melody into my phone then woke up the next day and worked it all out.
     I remember being extremely grateful that the creator bestowed upon me the ability to conceive a worthy melody for such a cool instrumental.  I just kept thanking the flow of the universe so I ended up calling the song “Mahalo” which as you mentioned translates to Thank You in Hawaiian.

     Ross CAT-
Listening to the blistering guitar work you laid on that fiery track it would be my guess that as a young man you may have had a SANTANA record or two in your album collection.
DEVON-Got that right, “Moonflower” is one of the coolest records ever.  Hearing that album exposed me to the amazing music that the Spanish culture has to offer and it’s crept into my consciousness ever since.
     Ross CAT-
Let’s talk about the albums title track “Torch”, what was the significance of that particular song to you when it came time to tie the record together with a title?

DEVON-“Torch” for me signified a few different things. I had decided to take some time off a few years back when my son was born, at that time I just wanted to be a DAD.
     After a few years there came a point when I decided he was old enough and it was time go out and do this music thing in the biggest way possible.
     I knew I had to not only expand my music but I had to make an effort to get the music to the masses not just the Mid West United States where I had done most of my touring.
     In essence it was time for me to get off my ass and make this happen. That being said, as we stand here today in 2009 I started to think about the bands that I grew up with like SANTANA, The ROLLING STONES and the ALLMAN BROTHERS and the fact that eventually they’ll be hangin’ up.  I want to be in the next generation of players that is responsible for keeping this amazing musical art form of Heart & Soul Blues inspired Rock alive and Rolling.
     Ultimately music needs to be an uplifting experience, something that can get you through even the shittiest day and that’s what I want HONEYTRIBE to be all about.

     Ross CAT-
We’ve talked aboutTorch andMahaloa few of the stand out tracks on HONEYTRIBE’s debut album, the rest of the album has a great flow to it, how particular where you in placing the tracks on the record?
DEVON-For the most part yeah it was tracked in a particular sequence, but I have to say in a sense my heart was broken in this one instance. I allowed the record label to start the record out with “Torch” instead of “Mahalo”. Which by the way is totally out of character for me, ever since I dedicated myself to my music I’ve done everything that I thought was right for my family and my career without compromise.
     Ross CAT-
It didn’t seem to slow down the record at all as it’s been receiving critical acclaim worldwide since its release in late 2006.
     I’m sure you won’t be dealing with those types issues when it comes time to put together the next album which is going to drop later this year, tell fans what they can expect from HONEYTRIBE’S sophomore effort already titled “Space Age Blues”?
DEVON-We are about half way through writing for it and I’m extremely excited about it.  We’re looking to take it to another level as a band, focusing on a certain area of what HONEYTRIBE is all about, more or less looking to magnify the dynamics of the Blues and Soul within our music.
     As a genre HONEYTRIBE is really difficult to define we feel we’re High Octane Soul, Shaking with the Blues, basically we are playing something that’s old and kicking it in the ass.
     The new material is going to have a more modern message to it and really have an even more universal sound then “Torch” we are really having fun putting this record together.

     Ross CAT-
Your  debut album was recorded at the storied Ardent Studios in Memphis; I believe the ALLMAN BROTHERS recorded “Shades of 2 Worlds” there in 1991, what was it like to step into that studio as you begin to create your own legacy?
DEVON-That’s true, I saw the great TOMMY DOWD work on that record with the ALLMAN BROTHERS. I was down there everyday as a wide eyed sixteen year old  watching the masters at work thinking to myself I will come back here one day and make a record; to be able to follow that dream through was really an incredible feeling.
     For this new record we may end up back at Ardent but I’m not quite sure yet, it will all depend on the vibe when the songs are ready.
Ross CAT-
Like your Father you too are a road warrior touring some three hundred dates a year, is that where you do a lot of writing?
DEVON-Man I wish I could write while I’m on the road it really would make more sense with the time I spend touring but I’m just not one of those guys.
     Obviously it takes a great deal of discipline and focus, I’m not one of those daily songwriters; I basically soak up life six months at a time and draw inspiration from that when it’s time to step into the studio.
Ross CAT—
I’ve had the honor to speak with your Father GREGG on a few different occasions most recently this past Christmas during his visit to the Seneca Niagara Casino, he’s bounced back quite nicely from a 2008 that saw him slowed down quite a bit physically.
     We had the chance to talk about HONEYTRIBE and he said he doesn’t like to leave home without you on the GREGG ALLMAN & Friends tours; he really was gushing with pride when talking about your guitar playing and being a grandfather.  Tell us about what’s its like being out on the road with your Dad?
DEVON-Last year was a tough year for him we were all pulling for him and it’s great to see him back out on the road again.  I know it drove him crazy having to take so much time off but he owed that to himself and to the band.  It’s certainly paid off as he is doing really well and performing at a high level which he demands from himself.
     We really had a blast on the GREGG ALLMAN & Friends tour over the holidays, this year was extra special being able to share the experience with my Father as he got back up on the horse again so to speak.
     Being around musicians like those involved with my Father’s solo tour is really a great experience on so many different levels.

     Ross CAT-
I noticed a few years back HONEYTRIBE made a contribution to a record called “A Song for my Father” which was a tribute from the children of some of music’s legends to their parents.
     You performed “Midnight Rider”, what made you choose that particular song from the ALLMAN BROTHERS classic catalog?

DEVON-We narrowed it down to that song and “Ain’t Wastin’ Time”.  I decided to go with “Midnight Rider” because it always had a special place in my heart when I was growing up as a kid with my Mother.
     It was really neat to come full circle hearing that song as a kid on the radio to actually doing my own version.  What made it even more special was the fact that I got to hand my Dad the finished mix on Father’s Day.  I didn’t tell him what it was I just told him to give it a listen on the bus when he had the chance, he liked it a lot.

     Ross CAT-
I suppose it will always be difficult to avoid the comparisons to your Father and the ALLMAN BROTHERS music.
     One of the quotes I read that showed that you are ready to embrace that challenge was; “The ALLMAN BROTHERS are more of an inspiration then an influence” expand on that for us?

DEVON-I hit a point in my life when I was about eighteen years old when I had to make a decision on how I wanted to approach my music.
     I didn’t feel that for me just sitting down and learning all of DUANE ALLMAN’S guitar licks or learning all of the ALLMAN songs would be enough for me as an artist, I just didn’t want to hang on to that legacy for the ride.
     I had to find the right balance, to be respectful to where I came from and appreciate it but at the same time I needed to forge a path of my own.
     I think I’ve found that center that I need to go out and do my own thing.  We’ll throw in an ALLMAN BROTHERS tune in the set but you’re not going to hear five of them.
     I really feel HONEYTRIBE can stand on its own; I have no illusions to the fact that some folks will come out to see GREGG ALLMAN’S son, but when they leave a HONEYTRIBE show I’m confident that they’ll have an appreciation for every member of the band and what we are trying to accomplish; we’re just a hard workin’, hard Rockin throwback band kickin’ it old school. 

     Ross CAT-
You’ve stripped things down a little with HONEYTRIBE, touring as a power trio here in 2009, tell us about that?
DEVON- Actually I’ve got this cat SETH DAVIS on slide guitar, he’s played with VICTOR WOOTEN & JOHNNY NEEL and he’s just a bad bad boy on the slide and he’s going to join us for a few shows.  We want to give that a little test drive and see how that goes.
Ross CAT-
Will you be using the legendary Lafayette Tap Room to road test any of the new material on Thursday night?
DEVON-Absolutely, we are looking forward to our first visit to BUFFALO.
Ross CAT -
On the "Mahalo" video on your website you have a signature on your guitar, who might that be from?
     DEVON- That would be the great LES PAUL.
     The Rock Rapport would like to Thank DEVON ALLMAN for his time. Tickets for the show are available at, All Tops locations and at The Lafayette Tap Room located at 391 Washington Street in downtown

*****************PEACE & HARMONIES**************

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