Branching out: Devon moves from the shadows

Devon Sproule started her musical career on a commune and as one of the ubiquitous adolescent Downtown Mall guitarists whose screechings make many passing grown-ups' teeth ache. But she matured and had the last laugh– she was swept away on a tour with the Dave Matthews Band and issued an album produced by bassist Stefan Lessard.

These days, Sproule is known as the partner– romantically and musically– of Paul Curreri, another Charlottesville musician-on-the-verge. The two are partners in crime in several ways. The musical side of their relationship has been chronicled on a series of CDs and was on view for the public again at a recent Valentine's Day concert.

But the current sweetness and light had a rocky start.

"I was playing a show at Trax," Sproule remembers. "I was on my last song when he jumped up on stage and started singing. He was drunk.

"He opened for me two nights later," she says, describing the beginning of a musical collaboration that began long before she became his fiancée.

"I did an interview the day after he asked me [to marry him], and I told the reporter that she couldn't print it until I told my mom. It made me feel like kind of a badass," she recalls with a smile.

But it seems as though she might be ready to go it alone professionally. After easing out from the Dave Matthews orbit, she's started playing a lot of shows and teaching guitar lessons when her schedule permits.

"My relationship with music became more about sitting down with my guitar than about the conversations I had around town about music," she says. "It became more about the music and less about the scene."

While later this month she's leaving for England, Ireland, and France, where she'll join Curreri for several shows, Sproule hints that the days of their lovey-dovey duets may be numbered.

"I think we're trying to phase it out," she says. "We already do a lot of things together."

They're obviously not phasing out love: their wedding is set for May. And that should be a pretty hectic month, as Sproule's next album release is tentatively scheduled for around the same time.

So now that she's a grown-up bride-to-be and no longer strumming away in front of CVS, what's the next chance for fans who can't afford the airfare to Paris?

"April 1 at Gravity, and I've got... oh, wait. maybe I can't announce it yet," she says. Stay tuned. We'll let you know after she tells her mom.

Age: 22

Why here? Even communes can get old.

What's worst about living here? Seriously long walk to the subway

Favorite hangout? 802 Stonehenge Ave.

Most overrated virtue? Impartiality

People would be surprised to know? I'm actually quite tall.

What would you change about yourself? My clumsiness

Proudest accomplishment? Upstate Songs

 People find most annoying about you? That I'm often reluctant to discuss what people find annoying about me. Annoying, right?

Whom do you admire? Anita O'Day

Favorite book? William Steig's Ruminations

Subject that causes you to rant? SunCom

Biggest 21st century thrill? I hit my left turn signal. I turn left. Suddenly, my left turn signal has turned off. Wow.

Biggest 21st century creep-out? 47th Annual Grammy Awards

What do you drive? '99 Toyota Corolla

In your car CD player right now? Monk's Underground

Next journey? UK, Ireland, and France, touring with Paul Curreri

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Stealing and wrecking a van when I was 15

Regret? Not insisting that the stripper at Paul's birthday party dance to Lucinda instead of Ozzy

Favorite comfort food? Hippie stuff, like the food at Twin Oaks, or the Little Grill in Harrisonburg

Always in your refrigerator? Rather on the refrigerator: A five-liter box of Almaden's Mountain Burgundy

Must-see TV? SNL

Favorite cartoon? Fluff Ass

Describe a perfect day: Whiffle ball at Jeff Romano's

Walter Mitty fantasy? I hit a grand slam at the whiffle ball game at Jeff Romano's, again.

Who'd play you in the movie? Er, um, if it were up to me... Uma?

Most embarrassing moment? Confusing the Cubs and the Bears at my first Christmas with the in-laws

Best advice you ever got? Never have a back-up plan.

Favorite bumper sticker? "Give me ambiguity or give me something else."

Devon Sproule