The Halley Devestern Band,
Keep on Playin'
(Devestunes & LI'LT, 2017)

To get an idea of the kind of pipes Halley Devestern brings to the party, all you have to know is that she has toured as the lead singer with Big Brother & the Holding Company -- the band that, in case you live in an envelope and didn't know, first shot Janis Joplin to prominence.

Of course, to fully become Joplin, Janis had to leave Big Brother, as did Halley Devestern, who gathered under her expansive wings a quartet of veteran musicians: guitarist David Patterson spent time with Shawn Mullins, while Rick Kulsar has drummed for everyone from the Zen Tricksters to Mickey Dolenz. Bassist Tom Heinig comes from the Lamont Cranston Band. Add in keyboard player and backing vocalist Steve Jabas and you've got yourself a band.

Keep On Playin', is a five-song EP, a form that is becoming more popular in these days of declining CD sales and a form that I, being an album person all of my life, have a hard time warming up to; I get a taste of the good stuff and that just leaves me wanting the rest of the bottle.

Still, you review what the artist offers, not what you'd prefer, so the question is -- does the EP accomplish the band's goals for it?

The answer would have to be a gently qualified yes. The Halley Devestern Band rocks hard, offering up solid belted-out blues with good charts, pro playing and a heavy emphasis on the uptempo numbers. If you're listening in a group, dancing will break out; listen alone and you'll probably find yourself doing a little chair dance as they create an irresistible groove.

You will also, and this is where the qualification comes in, feel that you've heard it all before. What the band does, they do very well, but on this EP at least, they don't bring the original edge that is needed to push them out of the pack.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

2 September 2017

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