Homespun: Devon Allman's Honeytribe

Space Age Blues

Space Age Blues

Devon Allman's Honeytribe CD Release
9 p.m. Saturday, November 6. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City.
$15. 314-727-4444.

The new disc from Devon Allman's Honeytribe opens with the soulful squawk of a harmonica. Who's behind the harp? None other than beloved '80s hitmaker Huey Lewis, who gets back to his own roots as a Bay Area bar-band member on the funky blues of "Could Get Dangerous." Lewis' brief, understated cameo is never in danger of overshadowing Allman, whose searing guitar playing and full-throated vocals dominate the record.

Not to sound too much like Mike Myers on Coffee Talk with Linda Richman, but Space Age Blues is neither that space-agey nor overwhelmingly bluesy. Instead, Allman and company tread in the realm of rootsy, soulful guitar rock. Some bright, proggy synthesizer attends the coda of the hard-rocking "Endless Diamond," though that mood is quickly lightened by the airy instrumental "Bleu est le Vide"and the tender ballad "Warm in Wintertime." Swooping strings wrap the latter song in a velveteen grace that both warms Allman's vocals and propels them forward.

A noticeable strain of Southern rock is thrown in the mix, as befits someone with the last name Allman (Devon's father is the legendary keyboardist and singer Gregg Allman). In particular, the younger Allman's smoky pipes and propensity for swaggering guitar rhythms come across clearly, albeit with a modernized sheen. Space Age Blues was recorded at Memphis' storied Ardent Studios, and there is as much Memphis soul as there is Southern boogie on the disc. The title track oscillates between slinky blues verses, complete with wah-wah guitars, a street-corner sax solo, and a modern-rock influenced chorus. The band is less lucky on its version of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke," which is hampered by a leaden rhythm; the song never takes flight, but it's an obvious signpost of Allman's broad influences and the varying strands of American music that he ties together with his Honeytribesmen.

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