Martin Devaney’s been busy. His new album, La Mancha, marks his third full-length release in as many years, following the debut Somebody Somewhere, and the melancholy September. In that time he has also founded the Twin Cities label, Eclectone Records (which has seen releases from seven artists as of fall 2004), not to mention regularly touring and playing regionally with artists such as Ike Reilly, the Jayhawks, Dan Bern, Evan Dando, Damien Jurado, Mason Jennings, Mike Doughty and more. Not bad for a guy who’s just 24.
La Mancha, though a continuation fo Devaney’s strong lyrical tendencies, marks a sonic departure from earlier quieter releases toward a louder, cathy rock sound. Engineered and produced at Underwood Studios with Mark Stockert (the same team from September), the album’s style range from the punchy-guitar opener “Is That You” to the relaxed groove of “Theme for an Anonymous Waitress” to the jangly rock of “Magazine” and “Nobody Writes Letters Anymore.” Themes of romantic, artistic and personal frustration and hope are supported by fine performances from Devaney’s regular live band, as well as such guests as Honeydogs keyboardist Pete Sands and ex-Replacements gunslinger, Slim Dunlap. And there are hooks-a-plenty throughout.
A three-time Minnesota Music award nominee and St. Paul native, Martin Devaney has a wide-ranging musical past as a former jazz saxophonist and former member of the Twin Cities hip-hop outfit, Heiruspecs. Now he continues in the tradition of the many great Minnesota songwriters. Let him sing you a couple tunes.