JUST LEAVE THOSE OLD RECORDS ON THE SHELF –
RIO BASED SINGER AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST
RICK DEVIN JOINS FORCES WITH A BATCH OF
FAMED VETERAN SIDEMEN TO CELEBRATE
12 CLASSICS ON OLD SCHOOL 2: ROCK HITS
OF THE 60s & 70s
Performing everything from country rock and cowboy music to classic rock and ambient instrumentals, Rick Devin’s fascinating, whirlwind career over the past three decades plus has included performances, sometimes totaling over 300 per year, on thousands of stages throughout the world or on film with many of music’s biggest names, from Joe Cocker and Glen Campbell to The Dixie Chicks and Ronnie Milsap. In 2001, he and country star Michael Martin Murphey opened The Singing Cowboy Ranch in Nathrop Colorado, the same year Devin was nominated for WMA “Entertainer of the Year.” During this era, the singer also toured the Southwest extensively as frontman of Rick Devin and the Eagle River Band.
Bringing his career full circle to the songs he grew up playing, the recording of his ninth and latest full length solo album Old School 2: Rock Hits of the 60s & 70s has been one of his greatest collaborative adventures yet. The versatile singer and multi-instrumentalist (bass, rhythm guitars, electric guitars, lead guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion) celebrates and re-imagines 12 classic rockers from that golden era with a powerful lineup of guest veteran sidemen, including keyboardist/vocalist Chris Pitman (Guns N’ Roses), drummer Chet McCracken (Doobie Brothers, Joe Walsh, America, Stevie Nicks), guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), guitarist Chris Pinnick (Chicago, Chuck Negron, Herb Alpert), guitarist Philip Donnelly (Donovan, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Everly Brothers, John Prine, Gary Moore), and drummer Stuart Lawrence (Donovan). Also playing key roles are saxophonist Beto Saroldi (Gilberto Gil) and vocalists Maria Ricart, Manoel Pires and Rosa Lucena. Devin’s brother Sean Devin shares the lead vocals on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s famed “Ohio.”
The highly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s pop-oriented venture Old School: Hits of the 60s & 70s, on which Pinnick & McCracken also appeared, the new collection also includes explosive twists on tunes made famous by a cross section of legends: The Beatles (“Nowhere Man,” “Ticket To Ride”), Joe Cocker (“Unchain My Heart”), Joe Walsh (“Rocky Mountain Way”), Creedence Clearwater Revival (“Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”), Santana (“Black Magic Woman”), bluesman Slim Harpo (“Baby Scratch My Back”), Derek & The Dominos (“Layla”), Bob Seger (“Old Time Rock and Roll”), The Who (“Pinball Wizard”) and ZZ Top (“Tush”).
Though the songs are instantly familiar and flash the listener back to a truly remarkable era in music history, Old School 2 was only made possible by employing contemporary digital technology in a unique and necessary way. Devin and others recorded their parts at various studios around the world and shared their tracks with each other via the internet. Devin’s arrangements allow for some cool contemporary twists, including some different instrumentation, extended solos and edgier lead guitar flavors (compared to the original versions) by Pinnick on “Layla” and Thal on “Tush” and extra percussion flavors (bongos, timbales, congas, etc.) by McCracken on “Black Magic Woman.”
“I am totally impressed by all of the musicians who participated in this project,” says Devin. “Each and every person brings their own special talents to a truly ‘old school’ project.’ I am humbled and honored by their presence. Many of these guys are used to touring and recording what ‘band management’ tells them to, so for me to ask them each, ‘What do you wish you could record?’ put a nice personal twist on things. Thankfully, most of the songs they chose were already in my longtime repertoire. Things got rolling on Old School 2 in 2010 during the Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy tour when Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Frank Ferrer stopped by my house. We listened to the first Old School CD and started conversations right then about doing a sequel.”
Devin intends to complete the classic songs “trilogy” in the future with acoustic hits of the 60s and 70s. His recent discography also includes ventures into experimental jazz/new age/world music fusion with Distant Lands – An Instrumental Journey. “I love all genres of music and my musical journey has taken many unpredictable paths over the past three decades,” he says, “yet regardless of the environment or the trends, I have always tried to just be myself. Whether I was playing cowboy music around a campfire, or creating crossover techno in a studio somewhere, my music is always motivated by where my mind, heart and soul are at that time.”
[Jonathan Widran is a Los Angeles based music and entertainment journalist who has done features and cover stories on pop and rock legends such as Moody Blues, Styx, David Crosby, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Los Lobos, Grand Funk, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Supertramp, Barbra Streisand, Bob Hope, the Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire, Journey, Deftones, Yes, Herb Alpert, Chaka Khan, Pat Boone and many more; and multi-media icons like Will Smith...]