Imagine you are preparing a list of today’s top female blues/rock guitarists. No doubt you will include Bonnie Raitt, Samantha Fish, Susan Tedeschi, Ana Popovic, and Rory Block. And if you don’t include Debra Devi, your list is just not complete. Need convincing? Submitted for your consideration Exhibit 1 – Devi’s recent EP Jamification Station, Vol. 1.
The EP is a collection of live performances from her livestream show “Jamification Station” hosted by American Blues Scene. Jamification Station Vol. 1 contains four tracks starting off with “Home Again,” a catchy tune sure to get your toe tapping, and ending with the Southern-rock tune titled “The River.”
Debra has a way of taking classic R&R songs and breathing new life into them. She has done that with Del Shannon’s “Runaway” and the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman.” She does it here with Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic.” Jimi would approve of Debra’s stinging guitar solo to finish off the track.
Jimi would also approve of Debra’s soulful and bluesy guitar intro to her self-penned “Get Free.” The song appeared on her album of the same name released in 2017. The Jamification version takes on a heavier, bluesier sound while maintaining a certain soulful, melancholy air. The refrain “Get free, baby, get free / Cause it’s all so clear” rings with a certain truth but you can’t help but wonder if it really is all that clear. You might find yourself hitting the repeat button to ponder what it takes to truly get free.
Debra’s fans have to be glad she did not listen when she was told girls don’t play in bands. Thankfully she saw Bonnie Raitt perform in college, which set free her longing to play. She bought a Fender Mustang at a pawnshop and moved to NYC. There, Devi joined various bands, touring the US, Canada and Europe. The only problem with Jamification Station, Vol. 1 is it ends too soon.
Debra’s Jamification Station livestream originated from drummer John Roccesano’s Silver Horse Sound in Hoboken NJ. It was meant to bring live music to listeners while venues were closed due to the pandemic. Her backing band is affectionately nicknamed “The Dudes” and features Kevin Jones on bass, Martin Schmid on keyboards, and Roccesano on drums.
When the need to isolate was over, the band was ready to focus on in-person shows. Fortunately, Roccesano recorded the streams to ProTools enabling the streams to be mixed for release as EPs. “We plan to mix three of these live EPs,” Debra says, “–no overdubs allowed!”
Happily then, we can look forward to hearing more live music from Debra Devi’s Jamification Station soon.