Review: The Blue Devils at The New Inn
They say 'the Devil has all the best tunes' ... if so, he's given more than a generous slice to The Blue Devils. While we know that Jim Leverton's beautiful bass lines, and the wonderful tone and guitar skills of Richard Studholme are the results of decades of hard work, commitment, inspiration and experience, perhaps like Robert Johnson, a gift from that big Blue Devil at 'the Crossroads' helped things along a little.
Either way along with the terrific Graham Walker back on the drummer's seat, the 'Devs' were an inspired choice for the newly refurbished and managed New Inn to lead the charge for both 'roots' and self penned music of the very highest quality on a humid June night.
The Blue Devils never let you down as they present top notch music with vigour and freshness every time. They play from the heart and soul, and that's exactly where it's received.
The dedicated music area at The New Inn has just the right laid back intimate ambience for music of this calibre; a lovely wooden structure with music images clad walls, candles on the tables, and room for dancing, seemingly fine acoustics, and great sight lines of the full band.
Of course Jim's, Graham's, and Richard's music credentials can be Googled, and it's a very worthwhile thing to do, but far better to see and hear them. As for example their rendition of Hendrix's The Wind Cries Mary when you feel with the body and emotions the musical lineage they bring, Sometimes it's implicit as per the music connection and friendship between Jim Leverton and the late Noel Redding (bass player in The Jimi Hendrix Experience) as those stately bass lines are played. Meanwhile Richard doesn't imitate Jimi Hendrix but instead imbues the affecting melody and lyrics with a deep blues sensibility that has the power to evoke timeless themes of love, wonder, sex and death; preparing everyone to dance on the next number in their own chosen way, whether it was the fine jive moves on display or a discrete tap of the toes to the uplifting likes of Chuck Berry's Carol or Promised Land. The Blue Devils music defies you to keep still, and will definitely embrace and move you.
A good hearted crowd of 'Devs' aficionados came out to welcome them to this vibrant and buzzin' addition to the already impressive local music scene, and to feel the spontaneous joy of when The Blue Devils strut their much loved stuff.
As we travelled together through their superb, eclectic sets of self written songs, and touching base with the blues, country rock, rock'n'roll, Dylan, Stones, and many points between, as always with the Devs wide repertoire it's hard to identify stand out numbers, because to use an over worked phrase (but in this case true), "It's all good!" ... however, the sensual blues philosphising of Willie Dixon's The Same Thing has become a highlight. Also a fabulously appropriate Gloria played on the same day the News had announced Van Morrison's knighthood had the crowd virtually levitating to such an extent that had the famously grumpy Sir Van popped his head in the door I could imagine him being well chuffed !
By the time The Small Faces All Or Nothing was delivered, elevated as it is by Jim's long musical association with Steve Marriott, it seemed to define the essence of a night with The 13 June 2015 Blue Devils; there are no half measures with this band, it really is All Or Nothing. Jim's bass playing and vocals take this writer and I'm sure many folks to a place where words don't serve, but a German record producer tried when he told Jim "We are liking ze groove!"
Graham Walker was completely in sympatico subtle connection with the musical force of nature that comprises Messrs Studholme and Leverton, and did I mention the great vocals ? showcased as they were on the ever popular Gram Parsons song Ooh Las Vegas and on Contract from the wonderfully named 'New Riders Of The Purple Sage'.
With such a great night you don't want it to end, but end it must, and with Richard's exhilarating take on the the convoluted vocal of Bob's Subterranean Homesick Blues sung with sincerity and panache, while the band hurtled through some thrilling riffs, the sweat was well and truly rolling from both band and punters. Encores were yelled for and generously given with Dead Flowers to 'slow things down a bit' and a righteous Mona to raise us up again and out into the night.
A wonderful time was had by all, and it bodes very well indeed for the future when the fairly new venture that the revamped New Inn is, can set the bar so high by hosting a gig of such engaging and professional joy filled music.
Submitted by Nigel
Find their next gig: The Blue Devils