Devon Sproule

Don't Hurry for Heaven!

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Devon Sproule continues her bright upward arch as a singer and songwriter with Don't Hurry for Heaven!, another collection of tunes driven by her bright, seemingly carefree vocals and her top-notch band. Sproule displays another remarkable artistic growth spurt on the album, and while the band continues to work together low-key elements of folk, pop, blues, country, rock, and even a hint of reggae, Sproule's winning personality and finely wrought lyrics make every track sound like a new discovery. The subtext here is the poverty of touring musicians and working folks, but Sproule believes in the power of love to overcome the day-to-day adversities of life, and that optimism shines out of every track. "Ain't That the Way" opens the album with a laid-back reggae rhythm from husband/producer Paul Curreri's guitar and Sproule's playful, yodeling vocal. Jesse Winchester drops in to lay down some backing harmonies that sound lazy; this is a Southern love song that Winchester would be proud to call his own, a meditation on lost love that concentrates on the luminous moments that make love so compelling. The title track is a country tune with a ragtime feel and swooning pedal steel guitar fills by B.J. Cole, whose playing throughout is one of the album's delights. It's a gently explicit tune, with Sproule purring like a contented kitty while Curreri tickles the ivories in the style of Floyd Cramer. There's a doo wop feel to "The Easier Way"; beautiful street corner harmonies lift up this tale of lost love. The most atypical tune here, and the only clunker, is a cover of Black Uhuru's "Sponji Reggae" given a moody, almost somnambulant arrangement. It's another parable about the redemptive qualities of love and music, but there's no edge in Sproule's version. The album closer is "A Picture of Us in the Garden," a jazzy torch song delivered by Sproule with her acoustic guitar. The subject is the poverty of the musician's life, but her breezy vocal ornamentations make a penniless life seem almost desirable.

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