As the son of Allman Brothers frontman Gregg Allman, songwriter Devon Allman doesn't mind all the media fuss over his rock 'n' roll lineage. He's confident that his original, soulful rock music will stand up on its own. Since the release of the critically-acclaimed debut album Torch in 2006, Allman's backing band Honeytribe has tightened up and emerged as one of tightest and funkiest rock/blues power-trios on the jam band circuit.
Allman likes to call it, "high-energy, bluesy, ass-kickin' rock 'n' roll."
Based in St. Louis, Allman formed the first version of Honeytribe 10 years ago, but he disbanded the group to spend time with his young son, Orion. These days, the lineup features Allman on lead vocals and guitar, George Potsos on bass and backing vocals, and Gabriel Strange on drums and backing vocals. Honeytribe brings the rock and soul at the Pour House on Tuesday night. City Paper caught up with him on a recent road trip:
City Paper: How long has this current trio been playing together — and how did this Honeytribe lineup take shape?
Devon Allman: I've been running the trio format for a few seasons now. It occurred to me that sometimes you need to rid yourself of the peripherals to get to the core. Bringing in a new drummer was difficult enough, so a power trio made sense. The idea is to record the sophomore record Space Age Blues and put the instrumentation on there that fits, and then fatten the band back up afterwards to bring those songs to life. But for now, to write new material and challenge myself being lead guitarist and lead vocalist in a power trio is something I really am biting my teeth into.
CP: You first came through Charleston about three years ago after the release of Torch. Compare your stage show these days to what you were doing back then.
DA: I think there's definitely more of a presence — more urgency, more ability to tap into the magical musical ether that surrounds us. That comes with time. The more you tap that ether, the more it responds to the taps. Things are fun, loose ... improvisational, but not to the point of overkill. No set lists, boomerang curveball cover songs, and lots of soul and energy.
CP: We're sure that you met and jammed with a pretty wide variety of big-name stars over the years — especially with Honeytribe's recent touring. Which musicians stand out and had you the most star-struck?
DA: Wow, jamming with the late Les Paul at his Monday night residency gig in New York City was definitely up there, and having Billy Gibbons [of ZZ Top] actually sit in with us in Vegas at a trade convention. I don't think I could have possible grinned any wider without stopping traffic and hurting someone.
CP: What's the funniest or weirdest thing you've read in the music press about yourself recently?
DA: That I was on a plane to Japan, caught a cold, and subsequently coughed in my dad's face, getting him sick. None of which was remotely true. No Japan stamp on my passport. And bro, you just don't cough in a person's face. How frickin' bizarro is that?
CP: What's the latest news on your new material? We heard that you'll be heading into Ardent Studios in Memphis.
DA: Man, the new songs are coming a little slow, but I'm very excited about them. Some song titles are "Salvation," "Space Age Blues," "Endless Diamond," "Where to Find Your Friends," and "Breathing Fire." They are very much alive and swirling — with a rad energy. I hope it breaks hearts ... in the good, timeless way. Look for a spring 2010 release.