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CD REVIEW: Rick Devin - Old School 2
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/10/2013 - 03:34 PM EDT

Artist: Rick Devin
Album: Old School 2
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Blues/Rock
Sounds Like: N/A (Cover Song Album)
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: N/A
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Black Magic Woman, Nowhere Man, Unchain My Heart,
Weakness: Karaoke Record Feel, Marketability
CD Review: Rick Devin has performed 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. His latest release Old School 2  features 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) just to name a few.

The CD kicks things off with melodic Beatles classic “Nowhere Man” a passionate guitar driven intro groove with methodical musical build, hooky chorus and melodic vocal delivery from Devin and Pitman. Track 2 “Unchain My Heart” serves up another hooky groove, with melodic musical flow coupled with impressive horns, harmonies and well placed R&B style guitar. I really like the impressive saloon style piano intro. Track 3 “Rocky Mountain Way" by Joe Walsh rocks the house with well placed slide guitar meshed with an infectious rocked out feel and full tilt groove that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many classic hits from the 60's and 70''s. Right from the start you will notice Devin and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. I get the impression they had a lot of fun making this record. The overall musical vibe has a nice, melodic poppy, hooky feel to it. The guitar playing is rock solid across the board as Devin and company dish out impressive musicianship. Devin's voice is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He’s got solid musical instincts within each movement. The musicianship from all the other members mentioned in the first paragraph has everything you would expect from world class players. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. The production quality is rock solid with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end punch. From heartfelt “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” to my personal re-make favorite “Black Magic Woman” to grooving “Scratch” to rocking “Layla” and smooth flowing “Ohio”  to melodic “Ticket to Ride” this 12 track CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12; ZZ Tops’ Tush (Featuring Guitar God Ron Thal) the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

As impressive as this CD is some songs give off a cheery Karaoke-type vibe to them. Some songs no doubt showcase impressive musical interpretations of classic hits, while others provide nothing more than an average remake/recordings of them. Old School 2 is the perfect title of a CD like this because it features music popular in the 60’s and 70’s. Having said that it's fair to say marketability is not its strong suit. Devin also doesn’t display the greatest vocal skills I've ever heard, however I will add he's a gifted Producer, Musician and musical mastermind.    

In close Old School 2 by Rick Devin proves where there is smoke there is fire. It’s an impressive collection of 12 classic hits you won't soon forget and deliver a bone crushing line-up of players and musicians only a veteran like Rick Devin can deliver.

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