Ashlander Kieran Devine combines his experiences of love, strife and travel into his musical compositions in his first album, "Chasing the Gray."
Ashlander Kieran Devine combines his experiences of love, strife and travel into his musical compositions in his first album, "Chasing the Gray." Writing all of the songs took Devine about two years, and since he had friends with recording studios to help him record the album, that part of the process took about one year.
"My friends did this for me for a really reasonable amount of money and in exchange, I would tell them to work on it when we can, don't put better-paying jobs ahead of it," said Devine.
A CD release party for Devine featuring many of the musicians that appear on his new album, including Jeff Pevar, Dean Angermeier, David Bolen, Donnie Yance, Jeff Kloetzel and Bob Minor, will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Paschal Winery, 1122 Suncrest Road in Talent. The cost is $10 and includes food and wine, or $15 per couple which includes a copy of his new CD.
"I went off to Bali and it was there that I wrote the song 'Chasing the Gray,' and the hunchback song," Devine said. "It was there that I kind of realized I wanted to do an album, so when I came back from Bali I started recording these songs I had written, and I even wrote a few more."
The songs on the album are honest and true, with a soft touch of folk and the rough grittiness of trials and tribulations. For example, track three, "I Gotta Hunch," which Devine calls the hunchback song, was written as a romantic tune for his girlfriend at the time.
"The hunchback song is a love song I wrote for my ex-girfriend. I've never been good at writing romantic songs," Devine said. "My little hunchback. She had scoliosis as a child — she didn't have a hump, but it was an inside joke."
Devine says his music was born out of a turbulent time in his life. In response to this difficult period he took a trip to Indonesia for space and healing. Devine was staying in an eco-lodge in Bali and teaching the owner's son how to play guitar, when one night he heard a strange sound in his room. From some dark corner of the room he heard "doo-kaaaay, doo-kaaay."
"I thought it was a poisonous frog that was going to jump on me, I couldn't find anything so I went to bed fitfully," Devine said. "In the morning I asked the woman at the eco-lodge what it was and she said they are geckos that were harmless. They live in the thatch roof and that sound is their mating call."
The tokay geckos that Devine encountered inspired him to record their unique sound that he then synched up to the beat on the title track of "Chasing the Gray." On the album cover is a big bright gecko on a gingham grey background that also has significance to Devine.
"In the Hindu ceremonies there was always this black and white and gray cloth hanging on the statue or people would be wearing it. I was curious what that was about," Devine said. "I asked this old Hindu guy that worked at the eco-lodge and he said, 'Well, it's really very complicated but basically in Hinduism we believe you should be neither too black nor too white; you should be somewhere in the gray.' So that's where the 'Chasing the Gray' came from."
Devine moved to Ashland six years ago from the Silicon Valley seeking a slower pace of life in Ashland to raise his two sons. Since moving to the Rogue Valley, Devine has made some friends in the music scene and was able to use their expertise and equipment to get his musical works recorded.
For the Tidings Café, Devine performs "Start Right Now," from his new album, in his garden in Ashland.
"There's an amazingly rich collection of artists in this valley. Jeff Pevar plays on my album and he's probably one of the best guitarists of all time," Devine said. "My friend Dean Angermeier helped me record some of the tracks, and Bret Levick helped mix it for me."
Devine prefers to play in coffee shops and wineries where the audience has more of a tendency to listen to the thoughtful lyrics. At 49, Devine says he's not so naive to think that he's going to be a rockstar, but instead delights in the process of getting his work recorded.
"I'm just really grateful that I was able to finish something creative at this time in my life," Devine said. "I think Bret Levick deserves a lot of credit for what he's done. He was very helpful and patient because this is my first album."
Look for Devine playing locally or learn more at http://www.kieranbdevine.com/
Mandy Valencia is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.