The Devon Allman Band played Anthem at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday night, kicking off the band's 'Ragged & Dirty' world tour. It's the second time I've seen Allman in the past few months and I came away even more impressed than the first show.

The 42-year old Allman has had to answer the question his entire life. Yes, his father is Gregg and uncle was Duane and while the bloodlines shine thorough at times with facial expressions and certainly guitar tone, Devon is quickly playing his way out of the long shadows cast by his family and continues to make a name for himself in his own right.

The new album is another step forward for Allman, who worked with Tom Hambridge for the first time. Hambridge has produced George Thorogood, Susan Tedeschi, Johnny Winter and many more and not only produced, but wrote four songs for Allman and put together the session musicians to record it which was a huge departure for Devon, to surrender control and just trust. He says now, it was obviously the right decision.

'Ragged & Dirty' is one of my favorite albums of the year and shows a blusier side of his playing and singing than last year's 'Turquoise'. On Thursday, Allman and his extremely talented band that includes fellow guitar player Bobby Schneck Jr. (who looks like he should be studying for his SAT's and college entrance exams while laying down some absolutely beautiful fills and leads) did two sets and covered a lot of the new material much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd.

He also included some fantastic covers at the show as well: "I'll Be Around", the 70s soul classic from The Spinners, which is on Ragged & Dirty, Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry' which he covered on 2003's 'Torch' with his band Honeytribe, 'Dead Flowers' from the Rolling Stones and a wonderful cover of his dad's 'Melissa' which he ongue-in-cheek credited to 'a close friend who wrote it a long time ago'.

In addition to his stellar solo work, Allman is also one of the 'five leaders' of The Royal Southern Brotherhood who just returned from a European Tour with new member Bart Walker, who has replaced Mike Zito. Zito has left RSB to focus on his solo career. The band will be at the Hard Rock in Sioux City December 11th before going into the studio to start working on their next album, despite the fantastic 'HeartSoulBlood' just coming out this summer. Allman and his solo band will also return to the Hard Rock in January.

Both Devon and The Royal Southern Brotherhood have been on our radar for a couple of years to try to get to JazzFest in Sioux Falls. I also talked to a couple of representatives from Saturday in the Park, the annual music festival in Sioux City on the 4th of July weekend who said they were going to be talking about Allman possibly playing that festival next summer.

James Brown was famously known as the hardest working man in show business, but with countless world tours with both his solo band and RSB, writing for two bands, recording four albums in the span of about two years, AND raising a song back home in St. Louis, Devon Allman may be challenging for that title in the not so distant future. Even without the title, Devon Allman is a name music fans need to know. Luckily, we're going to get more chances to get to know him and his music in the coming months.

Crash/B102.7