HOWELL DEVINE – HOWL
“…a real King Biscuit Time vibe in sound, groove, and attitude. Joshua Howell, the band’s guitarist and harmonica player, plays wicked harp loosely in the Rice Miller tradition, with traces of Jaybird Coleman and Little Walter… emotive, straight blues, with sharp and superb guitar sliding & picking… they are wild, juxtaposing interesting syncopations and jazz beats. Drummer Pete Devine and contrabassist Joe Kyle Jr. are in their own dynamic creative realm, approaching the rhythm in a free, almost avant-garde way—a contrast that gives the ensemble an idiosyncratic edge… apparently, nobody showed the rhythm section the playbook.”~ Frank Mathias, Living Blues
“Howell Devine is more than pleased to sign with Jim Pugh’s new label, Little Village Foundation,” says Pete Devine, co-founder, drummer, jug and washboard player. “As fellow players in blues, we love Jim’s wide appreciation of both country blues and the soul blues from the 60s. It’s an honor to now be a part of the LVF family.”
Recorded at the mecca of blues production on the West Coast these days, Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, the trio – Joshua Howell (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Pete Devine (drums, washboard, jug) and Joe Kyle, Jr. (upright bass) – brought their raw and elegant rhythmic simpatico to a carefully selected repertoire of songs, just as they have in the past with their acclaimed albums on Arhoolie Records, Jumps, Boogies and Wobbles (2013) and Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju (2015), and their self-released debut, Delta Grooves (2012).
Joshua Howell comments here on a couple of songs choices for HOWL.
The Key: Sonny Boy has always been one of my favorite blues lyricists and harmonica players. The Key strikes me for its laid-back feel and simplicity. Melody takes a back seat in this tune while the guitar, drums and piano pulse in rhythmic unison. We never attempted to recreate this song in duplicate form but did intend on capturing that throbbing bassline with the use of Joe’s bow and Pete’s jug. We play it straight and let the words speak for themselves.
Sadie: Like all the songs I cover, I need to feel connected to them. They need to be personal and meaningful to me. It’s an age-old story: there was a girl I loved and the love was unrequited. For me, that girl was Ceci. For Hound Dog Taylor, it was Sadie. I could have ripped off the song and sang about Ceci but chose to stick to the original and know who I was really singing about.