Buzz-Hooray! Devon Sproule's Ã?Â¡Hurry! a sensual feast
Early in her career, the term "hot wifey back porch jazz" might not have explained the music of local Americana darling Devon Sproule. Her fourth album, ¡Don't Hurry for Heaven!, might qualify, but when Matt Curreri, brother to Sproule's husband and sometimes collaborator Paul, first used the phrase to describe Sproule's music, she was not quite convinced.
"It's a nice way of putting it," she admits. "But I'm loathe to call it jazz because I have no training in jazz."
Still, the album does capture Sproule stretched outside her usual environment. Most of the ten tracks were written in America and later transformed through Sproule's experience performing weekend festivals with a band across England. For one who usually performs solo Americana-drenched country and folk, the shift to a full band and rock 'n' roll was just as much of a jolt as the time change, according to Sproule, and the atmosphere of touring with a full group using jazzier rhythms and chords also opened up new realms vocally.
"It was groovier stuff that me and the band were playing at these festivals," she says. "I thought people would be critical, but they liked it more than I thought they would."
Although it carries a tinge of homesickness reflecting Sproule's emotional state while recording in the UK, ¡Don't Hurry for Heaven! is mostly confident, honest, emotional, and personal: "I can't live anyplace but Virginia / I've never even tried," she sings on "A Picture of Us in the Garden," revealing the homesickness she felt touring abroad. Later on the same track: "Honey, how are we supposed to ever have us a family when the business won't give us a buck? / I guess it's lucky I'm still pretty young." Anxiety, then fearlessness.
Or, as Sproule puts it, "It's personal writing with some kind of pop sensibility." And other sensibilities as well –- she's jazzy on "Bowling Green," sensual and sultry on "Julie," and rock 'n' roll confident on "Ain't That The Way."
"You end up continuing to improve if you're always poking around for different stuff, different sounds," says Sproule. "I'm trying to get to be a better a guitar player instead of thinking ahead career-wise."
¡Don't Hurry for Heaven! for lazy summer evenings on a Belmont porch summer evening, with poignant yet familiar lyrics. Good thing she's "still pretty young" – that means there will be more of this.
Eventually, at least. "I feel ambitious musically, but not so much to move on to a new phase or out of an old phase," says Sproule. "I'm happy enough with what's going on." That would be ¡Heaven! going over quite well in the UK, per usual, and Sproule enjoying it all from over here.
Devon Sproule releases ¡Don't Hurry for Heaven! on
Friday, April 30 at The Southern. The doors open at 8pm and tickets are $10-12.