A Fiery New Album From Guitarslinger Debra Devi

by delarue

Debra Devi is the rare rock guitarist who’s as much about purpose as pyrotechnics. It’s amazing how she uses as many notes as she does, yet she doesn’t overplay. She can fire off a blistering, wildly psychedelic solo with the best of them, but she also uses every shade and color in her pedalboard. Late-period, sober Stevie Ray Vaughan is a point of comparison esthetically if not stylistically. Devi may be a disciple of the blues (she wrote a very popular book on the subject), but she doesn’t limit herself to the style. She’s got a show coming up this Dec 11 at 7at Berlin with her power trio; cover is $10.

Her new ep, Wild Little Girl is streaming at her webpage. The opening anthem, Butterfly, sways along on a steady 6/8 groove, awash in guitar multitracks and Rob Clores’ sweeping keys. Devi’s aching slide solo is tantalizing and over too soon.

She ranges from southern-fried slide to searing red-sunset David Gilmour lines over drummer John Hummel’s serpentine metrics and Clores’ swooshy organ in Shake It. Likewise, Tired of Waiting (an original, not the Kinks classic) shifts meters unpredictably while Devi builds from ethereality to crunch and then a deliciously expansive solo, again playing with a slide.

Another slow 6/8 ballad, 10 Miles to Clarksdale has unexpected country flavor. Stay begins on a moody note and rises through funk toward stadium-rock heft. The album’s strongest track is a live take of Tired of Waiting, which really shows what Devi can do with her searing vocal wail and her fast fingers.: it’s the best possible advertising for her live show.

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