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Devon Allman

“Turquoise”

Ruf Records

“I just want to play my guitar / Just like my family before me,” Devon Allman sings in the opening cut of his new album.

You would, too, if your dad was Gregg and your uncle was Duane.

As a younger rocker, Devon tried to outrun his famous family name, hoping his music would speak for itself. Now, he seems resolved to it, like other famous musical offspring.

This is Allman’s first solo album, after stints with the Royal Southern Brotherhood and his own Honeytribe.

“Turquoise” is more or less autobiographical, with lots of songs about love and life on the road and the family left behind.

Allman wears his 1970s Les Paul guitar rock influences on his sleeve. The lone cover here is a gritty run at Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” trading verses with Samantha Fish. There’s a little Latin groove under “There’s No Time” and some horn-sweetened soul with “Into the Darkness.”

But it’s when Allman embraces the slow blues of his heritage that the album really hits its stride.

Luther Dickinson is here playing slide guitar on the opener, and Rick Steff adds the Hammond B3 to cuts like “There’s No Time” and “Homesick.”

 

Buck Owens

“Honky Tonk Man”

Omnivore Recordings

For a lot of fans of the outlaw country sound coming out of Bakersfield in the 1960s and ‘70s, it was hard to see Buck Owens cheese it up on "Hee Haw."

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Much of what he and his TV Buckaroos performed on the show were cover songs, arranged to please the rural masses of Kornfield Kounty.

Owens had to learn new songs every week and often woodshedded the songs in his home studio. He would lay down his guitar and vocal tracks and the Buckaroos would later add their own parts. Then on the show, they would sing over the tape.

Box loads of those tapes were recently discovered, and 18 of the songs are being released here for the first time.

Early in the show’s run, Owens was able to maintain his authenticity and chose to cover songs that clearly had an influence on him.

Waylon Jennings' “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” is here, along with Faron Young’s “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young.” And Hank Williams is everywhere, with “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It,” “Jambalaya,” and “Hey Good Lookin’.”

Don’t get the idea the songs are toss-offs. The Buckaroos were all pro musicians and hearing the songs outside the context of the tacky "Hee Haw" sets and applause tracks, they all sound pretty good.

Omnivore Recordings is also releasing terrific compilations of early songs, including some previously unreleased tracks, from George Jones, Merle Haggard and Wanda Jackson.

 

Overmountain Men

“The Next Best Thing”

Ramseur Records

Bob Crawford steps out again from his day job as bass player for the Avett Brothers to rock and ramble with his Overmountain Men.

The usuals are here, guitarist and vocalist David Childers and guitarist Randy Saxon, along with half the great pickers in North Carolina sitting in.

This is the band’s sophomore album, following 2010’s “Glorious Day” debut. The songs here can get a little shambly, and a little over-earnest, especially when Childers goes full baritone.

The songs tread familiar territory, love-gone-bad, (the shuffling “All Out of Diamonds”), misspent youth (“Death is So Romantic”) and one odd number about the hard and misunderstood life of Alexander Hamilton.

But, they’re all great players and the rootsy songs leave plenty of room for everyone to stretch out and tromp down the boundaries between genres.

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