Devon Allman and Donavon Frankenreiter have embarked on an epic quest, attempting to set a world record with 50 shows in 50 states, which started on Aug. 5 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Rollers, the duo’s EP that was released in June, serves as an invitation to find Allman and Frankenreiter on their ambitious journey to “See it All,” a call that is a standout track on the EP as well as the name of the tour.
Allman’s baritone sets the tone on the six-song EP (recorded while on the Allman Family Revival) with “Calling All You Riders,” a perfect introduction reminiscent of the “Easy Rider” era. The song pays tribute to a bygone era, and reminds the listener that those days of romanticizing travel and writing your own itinerary are nowhere near over. The song also has a catchy, modernized “Ghost Riders in the Sky” vibe that’s really brought home by Smith Curry’s captivating pedal steel and Mark Hochberg’s subtle yet entrancing violin and strings.
These wild road-trippers then jump into “See It All,” an upbeat, fun, rockin’ song featuring John Ginty on organ and Adam Hucke on horns. Allman and Frankenreiter both shine on guitar here, and their gritty vocals complement each other well. This tune is a highway anthem, and it keeps you rolling. You don’t know where it’s headed, and they lead you into a mind-blowing breakdown. Check it out.
“We Belong” sticks with the highway vibe and features Maggie Rose on backing vocals.
It has a bit of an early 2000s Incubus feel to it, largely a result of Matt Grundy’s masterful bass work. His creative bass lines carry the tune, as does Chris Turnbaugh’s synth work. It’s also a great love song – be it romance or just a love for being on the road.
“We Belong” and “See It All” are definitely on my road trip playlist now, and when you give them a listen I think you’ll be inspired to add them to yours, as well. These songs capture the spirit and the elation of going out on the road, of seeing the country and of living a life more about the journey than the destination.
There’s a fair amount of Jimi Hendrix influence in this EP, and it’s done tastefully. “Electric Lady” switches gears, slows things down and has a haunting vocal and slide guitar call-and-response that stays with you. Frankenreiter does the guitar work here, joined by Luther Dickinson’s phenomenal slide work. “Electric Lady” is low-key psychedelic, melodic and soothing. It serves as a little reprieve from the rocking out and takes on a different vibe – more of a night drive tune. This can be the last song of the night, as you arrive at your hotel or campground.
From here, Allman, Frankenreiter, Dickinson, bassist Justin Corgan and drummer John Lum kick it into high gear with “Where Ya Gonna Run To,” which keeps the Hendrix vibe going, crossing Jimi’s “Fire” and “Can You See Me?” vibes with a more modern Black Keys feel. It’s a bonafide shitkicker that you don’t want to end.
You don’t want the EP to end, either. It’s just a six-pack, but they deliver so much with the half-dozen tracks, including the finale, “Acapulco Gold,” one of my new favorite rock instrumentals. I can’t think of a better note to end on, as, once again, it has a nostalgic vibe, fusing 1970s Curtis Mayfield with Santana and Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante. The percussion by R. Scott Bryan really gives this song a different life, and makes it irresistible not to groove along. The guitar work here by both Allman and Frankenreiter is astonishing and leaves you wanting more.
Allman and Frankenreiter are still on tour, their goals of accomplishing the world record still intact. Have they come your way yet? Take a look at their tour dates here.
If you missed them, or you can’t make it to their show, rest assured, as Rollers stands on its own as a truly great rock EP. Rollers was produced by Luther Dickinson and mastered by Brad Sarno of Blue Jade Audio. Other featured musicians on the EP include Jara Harris on drums and River Kittens and Emily Wallace on backing vocals.
Highlights: “See It All,” “We Belong,” “Where Ya Gonna Run To”
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Show Review: Devon Allman at Hawaii Theatre