Devon McClive and Sons
Gig Seeker Pro

Devon McClive and Sons

Berkeley, California, United States

Berkeley, California, United States
Band Americana Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Devon McClive and Sons: Humankind"

Reviewed By: Benjamin Howarth
Label: Devon McClive
Format: CD

After a well received EP last year, Devon McClive has called in her ‘Sons’ and worked up a full band debut. They first started playing together in 2009, when McClive moved back to San Francisco and assembled some of her old friends from the area into a band. Her solo EP got promising reviews, but seems to have just been a toe dipped into the water, as on ‘Humankind’ Devon McClive has latched onto something rather well.

The first thing to say is that the instrumentation instantly marks this band out as being different from the standard fare. McClive herself plays cello and piano, and she is backed by Michael Tornatore on drums, Steven Hall on viola, Aaron Priskorn on trumpet and Dave Davis on guitar.

She sings like the missing link between Regina Spektor and Aimee Mann. With McClive’s vocals holding the songs together, the band shuffle between creaky blues, pre-war jazz, showtunes and folk – even finding room for hints of ska and western soundtracks. (It sounds as if Tom Waits is a big influence, which is of course no bad thing).

The Sons are never short of a nifty instrumental break, and one of the best things about listening to this album is realising that they clearly love playing together. Just listen to the raucous trumpets, dextrous drumming and unexpected changes of pace on ‘Our Time’ for proof.

'Sweet Surrender' returns her to the piano-only style of her first release, proving that her songs would still sound good without the band. But, when the ragtime drums and the viola return on 'Opportune', you quickly think that the songs are complemented really well by their backing. Over a number of changes of tempo, the band use this song to show everything they are capable of – while McClive offers up another excellent husky vocal.

‘Humankind’ is a real grower... I started off impressed, but it only took a few listens before I was completely hooked. This ranks as one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far. You’re but a few Amazon clicks away from it being one of yours as well...
- Penny Black Music


"This may be the last time you get to hear Devon McClive in such an intimate setting. A talent like hers is soon in for some major production. I was lucky enough to be able to supply the studio for her and watch and listen. Enjoy it while you can." Jack Douglas

- Jack Douglas


Devon McClive EP, self titled, released 2008
Quiet Bravery EP, released 2010, available on iTunes
Humankind LP, released 2011, available on iTunes



Devon McClive and Sons are fighting the push to join mainstream society. In their music, they capture a gypsy folk character with a little splash of pop. Coming together in 2008 from five different musical planes, they've successfully lit their musical fire. Cello fronted with velvet-voiced McClive, the band presents an unusual feeling: like Cat Power meets the circus. The band will take you on a musical adventure where listeners will feel like dancing or crying at times, or laughing at their attempt to poke fun at pop culture. They establish sounds of chamber music, with the cello and viola, mixed with wild improvisational jams, and harder rock moments. Their sound is so diverse, yet catchy, that the listener is bound to be entertained and will find their melodies running in their minds after they've had a listen.

The Devon McClive and Sons band started growing with much nourishment from their fans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Devon has toured much of the US as a solo artist and most recently toured the Pacific Northwest with some of "the Sons". They are currently working on their first full length/full band album to be released in the Spring of 2011.