Devon Allman Recorded Ride Or Die in Nashville with Tyler Stokes (guitar), Steve Duerst (bass), Ron Holloway (sax), Bobby Yang (violin), Kevin McKendree (keys) co-production assistance of veteran producer Tom Hambridge who also plays drums. Delivering the impossible, Devon’s latest effort since parting ways with Royal Southern Brotherhood delivers a stunning follow up to his last solo album. This is an album that delivers his best vocals to date combined with the mélange of the musical styles (rock, blues, funk, soul) that encompasses blues rock and will keep you riveted from the end to end.
“Say Your Prayers” rips the roof off to open this album and nails the balance between the gripping fear of hiding in the basement while a tornado shakes the house with a muscular guitar line during the lyrics with the uplifting and hope filled chorus of “The sunshine will be coming back, Don’t you go and worry about that.” The horns are used to great effect with the soulful vocals of “Find Ourselves.” The powerhouse punch of this album is delivered with the rocking “Galaxies,” which is simply a stupendous track.
Things slow down a little for “Lost” with an acoustic guitar foundation that mixes in the plaintive moans of a vocoder as he pours out his agony over a broken relationship. Things get definitely funky for “Shattered Times” where Devon delivers a couple short piercing toned solos. “Watch What You Say” is a statement about the work that takes to maintain relationships. “The real things come back around.”
The acoustic underpinnings of “Vancouver” support the reflective mood as he remembers a rushed relationship that fails. “Pleasure and Pain” is a soulful disapproval of addictions and the time that steal from us. We are trapped in the pleasure and cannot see the pain that we cause others and ourselves and that recovery “isn’t the end of the party. You’re just waking up.”
Acoustic guitars return to underpin “Live From the Heart” where the song just carries you along as Devon’s vocal abilities are again showcased. The acoustic guitar continues in the forefront with a violin counterpoint throughout and intriguing solo during the delightful “Butterfly Girl” while the album closes out with “A Night Like This,” which features an excellent sax solo by Ron Holloway.
This is the highlight of Allman’s career thus far and while Ride of Die will challenge you from beginning to end to end with its diversity of style, that is one of the intriguing things about this album and the beautiful songwriting, first rate guitar work, and emotional vocals that will hook you into playing this one over and over. There simply is not a bad track on this one and everyone should add this to their collection.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Butterfly Girl
– Pleasure and Pain
The Big Hit
Review by Kevin O’Rourke
Buy the album: Amazon