Devon Allman's Honeytribe
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Devon Allman's Honeytribe

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The best kept secret in music

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"Apple doesn't fall far..."

JAMBASE
12/21/2006

By Kerry Heffernan

You know that old saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"? In the case of Devon Allman's Honeytribe, we should all thank our lucky stars that this adage holds true. Son of southern rock legend Gregg Allman, Devon and his Honeytribe produces a sound with southern rock flair with hints of dear old dad's band, though not in an overpowering way. Where the Allman Brothers are inherently blues-based, Honeytribe is much more straight-up rock-n-roll. Comprised of Devon Allman (vocals, guitars), George Potsos (bass), Mark Oyarzabal (drums, vocals) and Jack Kirkner (keys), Honeytribe has shared the stage with Gov''t Mule, The Disco Biscuits and of course, the Allman Brothers Band, and seems poised to become a new staple figure in the world of southern jam rock.
While Honeytribe's sound is fairly unique, there are a couple of instances where missing the influences is nearly impossible. The opening track, "Torch," is a gritty "Wasted Words" or a fast-tempo "Can't Lose What You Never Had." The song's raucous energy sort of kicks you in the you know what's. A blazing guitar riff opens things, soon followed by Allman's soulful vocals. Oyarzabal's deep, pulsating, waterfall-like drum line is heard in the background of this grandiose track.
Another song that reeks of Allman Brothers Band influence is "Mahalo." This beautiful instrumental showcases the high musicianship of this band. Their rendition of an instrumental classic like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" mixes rock-n-roll edge with island flair. It starts a little spacey, with a pulsating drum line and an echoing organ, then guitar takes full control and becomes the real star of this tune.
The Allman's influence ends after the second song. Honeytribe is finding their own place in the jam world. No other song proves this point better than the completely unexpected rendition of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry." Maybe I am the only one who thinks so, but I just can't see the Brothers busting this one out at a show. Now, while the song does leave a little to be desired - it kind of sounds like something a wedding band would play – you have to give the guys in Honeytribe the credit for even attempting such a thing. Covering Bob Marley is like covering Pink Floyd - most don't attempt it because it's too difficult to get right. While Honeytribe doesn't exactly nail it, they certainly put up a valiant effort.
The final cut, "Nothing To Be Sad About," is another prime example of Honeytribe's break from the Brothers' influence. The jive number is poppy jump blues straight out of the 1950s. Although the Allman Brothers' music is steeped in blues, I've never heard them play anything like this. You can almost envision an old beach scene from those Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello movies where everyone is dancing the shag on a sandy beach.
Honeytribe is a veritable cornucopia of styles. With talented backing musicians and the musical prowess to forge his own sound, Devon Allman has certainly let the world know that he is perfectly capable of holding his own.


- JAMBASE


Discography

www.honeytribe.com or www.myspace.com/honeytribe

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

It’s been a helluva year for Devon Allman’s Honeytribe. Just say the name Allman and many things jump to mind: the epitome of Southern Rock, the original “jam” band, legendary live shows. It’s a lot to live up to, but Devon and his band of tight-knit brothers of different mothers have risen to the occasion.

Allman, whose voice is reminiscent of his father, Gregg, and whose guitar playing calls to mind other six-string gods, has been honing his skills since his early teens, spending his formative years with his mother in St. Louis, MO.

The original line-up for Honeytribe formed in 1999. In 2001 Allman took some time out to work on other projects and to tend to his family and new son. The band re-grouped in 2005, encompassing A-list musicians from mid-west America; like-minded fellows with talent, heart and soul. Long-time pal Mark Oyarzabal joins him on drums (now endorsed by Precision Drums). George Potsos, a giant presence on stage, on bass and Jack Kirkner on keyboards round out the tribe. Multi-instrumentalist Pedro Arevalo (Dickey Betts & Great Southern) is currently a touring member of the band, whose chemistry and inarguable talent make for a rock-n-roll juggernaut with a synergy on stage that is something to behold.

Also in 2005, Allman was the featured vocalist on three tracks on Love Union Peace, the Warner Bros. European release by The Vargas Blues Band, including the lead off single “How Verso Are You?,” which went to #3 in Spain the summer of 2005. The video became a hit on MTV Europe. The song was also used by Toyota for a massive TV campaign. Allman toured with the band in Europe over the course of 2005-2006, hitting over 20 cities in Spain, Norway and Macedonia.

Allman returned to the U.S. with a passionate commitment to Honeytribe. In August of 2006 the band released their Livewire Recordings debut, Torch. Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN, the album was co-produced by Allman and Pete Matthews (Paul Simon, N. Mississippi All Stars). Comprised of ten original tunes and a stirring cover of classic “No Woman, No Cry,” the CD has been embraced by rock critics, with reviews and features in Guitar Player, Guitar World, Guitar One, No Depression, Blues Revue, An Honest Tune, Relix, Blues Matters and Hittin’ the Note. Torch has received heavy airplay on both XM and Sirius, with both networks presenting the band for hour long performances. It has received airplay on various rock stations around the country. In November 2006, Honeytribe performed on the prestigious “Woodsongs Radio Hour.” Additionally, the video for the title track received play on dozens of video outlets, including Yahoo and AOL Music.

But in the Allman tradition, it all comes down to hitting the road, building a following one fan at a time. Honeytribe has been on the road since October of 2005, playing close to 300 shows a year, sharing the stage with everyone from The Disco Biscuits, Gov’t Mule, Tesla, Little Feat, Cheap Trick, and of course, The Allman Bros. Band. At the end of 2006, the band went out for two months with Gregg Allman and Friends, earning the respect of the diehard fans of the elder Allman. Allman’s Gibson Guitar endorsement led to the band performing last summer at the grand opening of the company’s custom shop in Nashville as well as this year’s CES Convention in Vegas, where Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top jammed with the band.

In February of 2007, 180 Music released A Song For My Father, on which Allman contributed a stellar cover of "Midnight Rider." Other children of legendary artists contributing tracks include: Ben Taylor, AJ Croce, Ky-Mani Marley, Salvador Santana, just to name a few. Each pays tribute to their illustrious parent by putting their own unique spin on a well-known song written and recorded by their father. Target is the exclusive distributor for compilation for the first year, with a subsequent wide release.

With no end in site for these road warriors, including a European tour on the horizon, Honeytribe is truly becoming worldwide tour de force.